Posts tagged ‘Nicolas Sarkozy’

Sarko in the Celtic Tiger’s cage

Nicolas Sarkozy, a watermark was present that ...Image via Wikipedia

The second in our now regular series of blog posts from our lovely French colleagues over in Paris…grrrrrrr.

After the announcement of the “No” on Friday, June 13, Dublin erupted in jubilation. But the next day, Ireland found itself in a situation comparable to the habitually sober citizen who has woken up with a raging hangover after having gone on an almighty pub crawl. A weekend national newspaper referred to an “Oh sh*t, what have we done?” vibe floating around. Opinion polls indicated that paradoxically most Irish support the EU, even if they voted no and found that almost 40 per cent of those who rejected the EU Treaty did so because they did not understand or were not “familiar” with it.

24 hours after the Bastille Day celebrations of July 14, the president of the European council, Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy sparked a general outcry in Dublin by bluntly revealing an open secret… “The Irish will have to vote again”, he said to members of his party. And the media hype began. Immediately, the Irish started fulminating about such arrogance on the part of the Gallic elite. Suddenly, Sarkozy’s four-hour visit in Dublin on July 21 became a much more controversial topic for the Irish than the last Gaelic football game. It became THE story. Actually, to say the least, the reception of the French President could have been warmer…

On his way back to Paris, “the French gaffer” as he is called in the daily French newspaper Le Monde, denied having asked for a second Irish vote. In fact, Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy is all too aware that there is no miracle solution to this institutional crisis at the present time. Irish events could be seen as a perfect introduction to a lecture on “sarkocism”. Lesson 1: raising the roof once more while pretending you are not. It is too early to say if this strategy is actually adapted to the present Irish versus European context. The forthcoming months will determine whether the answer is positive or not…

Zemanta Pixie

July 25, 2008 at 1:24 pm Leave a comment

The Sarko show: let the curtain rise!

France takes on the EU presidencyImage by looking4poetry via Flickr

In what we hope will be a series of regular reflections from our  colleagues at FH Paris on Bld Haussman during the current EU French Presidency, a mail arrives with this guest contribution from Clemence Choutet and Quentin Vivant. Here are their thoughts as the Sarko Show gets well into the first act…

President Nicolas Sarkozy has inherited a Union in disarray but he has grand ambitions at the helm of Europe. He intends to deploy all of his talents and diplomatic skills to pull off the job. In short, he has prepared grand plans for his EU presidency, which began on July 1st, to show that France is back in Europe.

Fastuous ceremonies and foreign guests

The inauguration of a flamboyant presidency was symbolized on June 30, 2008 by the Eiffel Tower lit a dazzling blue with gold stars, representing the EU flag. The festivities include “Europe Bastille Day Balls” and will continue throughout France’s six-month turn in the EU chair. With a budget of €190 million, France aims to dazzle the world’s eyes with stylish ceremonies and the classiest souvenirs, scarves, pens, small bags and other paraphernalia, ever to have been given away at EU summits. Beyond the pomp and style of the opening ceremonies, Mr. Sarkozy is to pursue an ambitious agenda of politico-cultural events centered on immigration, climate change, environment, agriculture, defense and energy. No fewer than ten international summits will take place over the following six months.

Review of the troops

The first and most spectacular event will be the Paris summit on July 13 for about 50 leaders from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East programmed to launch Mr Sarkozy’s pet project for a “Mediterranean Union”. Leaders of all 27 EU members, plus 17 Mediterranean countries, are invited to a jamboree on the eve of Bastille Day to launch a new Union for the Mediterranean. Soldiers from Mediterranean countries that include Libya, Syria and Israel are invited by President Sarkozy to march in a “Euro-Mediterranean Bastille Day” military parade with European troops. The parade is expected to be the biggest yet, and will be followed by a fireworks display and a concert. Sarkozy wishes to turn the Mediterranean summit into an occasion to demonstrate that one of his great ideas has started to materialize.

Sarkozy’s fast-track gambit may pay dividends

Nicolas Sarkozy plans to launch the EU construction projects more or less simultaneously instead of successively, a tactic which he has already employed for the instigation of French social and economic reform. His fast moves dazzle both friends and foe alike. He makes a practice of moving too quickly for his political adversaries. And whatever Sarkozy does, he does it with style. Despite the sarcastic comments made by his detractors, one cannot help wondering whether Sarkozy’s dynamic approach may finally pay off, providing the opportunity to break down the EU’s institutional paralysis and overcome the traditional obstacles which have marred its construction.

To be continued…

Zemanta Pixie

July 13, 2008 at 4:38 pm Leave a comment


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A blog on politics, policy, public affairs and communications in Brussels and the European Union. The blog is written by the team at Fleishman-Hillard in Brussels. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect those of the company or its clients. You will find the contact details of our team at www.fleishman-hillard.eu

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