Thursday, May 17, 2012

France Speaks Out Against Austerity

Regardless of ideology, Francois Hollande definitely deserves credit for hitting the ground running. Almost immediately after being sworn in as President of France, he was on a plane to Germany to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel, basically to assure her that differences of opinion can be resolved. This was followed almost immediately by a clear statement of just what those differences are.

According to a story filed this morning on Al Jazeera English, taken from their wire sources, Hollande’s Finance Minister, Pierre Moscovici, issued a statement that France would not ratify the European Union’s pact on fiscal discipline in its current form. That form is concerned only with austerity as a means for economic recovery. Apparently Hollande and his team have taken a close look at what austerity has achieved throughout Europe; and they have seen endemic unemployment, large masses of protest rallies, and measures among the general public as extreme as suicide. Hollande is willing to take the bold step of declaring that what is good for financial institutions is not good for the general public and may even be bad for them. Given that one of those financial institutions recently disclosed a loss of $2 billion through “sloppiness and bad judgment,” the timing may be right for Merkel and her colleagues to consider that Hollande may have a point.

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