Simmering Feud Between France and Germany Erupts Into Verbal Warfare; France Tells Brussels to Shove It

Courtesy of Mish.

The simmering feud between France and Germany erupted into a heated political exchange following Pressure on Hollande to take bold action to revive the French economy, calling for new pension and labour market reforms.

The commission’s list of recommendations for Paris, which it expects to be delivered in return for allowing France two extra years to meet its budget deficit targets, covered all the hard issues the socialist government faces: cutting public spending; restoring badly diminished competitiveness, opening up restricted markets, reforming the tax regime and loosening tight labour market regulations.

France Tells Brussels to Shove It

The exchange got quite interesting when Merkel Allies Bashed Hollande Over Needed Reforms

Leading members of Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Union in Germany have fiercely criticised François Hollande, accusing the French president of “shaking the foundations of the European Union”, only hours before the two leaders met in Paris in a bid to repair their troubled relations.

Deep German concern about the French government’s resistance to economic reform and hostility to EU pressure emerged after Mr Hollande said it was not for the European Commission “to dictate” reforms to Paris.

“There is no need for European recommendations; what’s needed is obvious. It’s not for the commission to dictate what we have to do,” Mr Hollande said in response to the commission, whose call was part of its annual assessment of budget plans for all 27 EU members.

The French president’s “vehement criticism of the European Commission’s reform proposals . . . contradicts the spirit and letter of European agreements and treaties”, said Andreas Schockenhoff, a deputy chairman and foreign policy spokesman of the CDU in the German parliament. “Someone who talks like that is shaking the foundations of the EU.”

Norbert Barthle, budget spokesman of the CDU in the Bundestag, said the two-year extension granted to Paris in meeting the 3 per cent deficit target was more than Germany had expected.

“France won’t be able to bank on such indulgence again,” he added, saying that Mr Hollande had misunderstood the nature of European co-operation if he thought he could accept the benefit proposed by the commission but reject the conditions attached.

Reflections on the Obvious

Somehow it is OK for France to stipulate conditions on Greece, on Ireland, on Cyprus, on Portugal, and on Spain but not be told what to do itself.

Yes it is “obvious” what to do….

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