30th September 2008

So, via a domino effect with the US as the leading player, the credit crunch has finally slammed into Europe. As the eurozone slides into recession, the ECB is coming under intense criticism for keeping monetary policy too tight. The decision in July to raise rates into the teeth of the crisis is now being slammed as overkill by the political leaders in France, Spain, and Italy. Mr Sarkozy - never one to miss a trick - has called an emergency meeting of the EU's big five powers next week to fashion a response to the crisis. It's only now being realised that the EU lacks a single treasury which can move in to deal with things quickly, so our Nicolas is stepping into the breach as current EU Chairman.
All this talk about money made me think of the problems we faced when we moved to France three years ago. Opening a bank account was O.K., but even simple things like writing a cheque was problematical. We learned that the French write the amount on the first line, unlike the English who write the name of the recipient. It was all too much for him indoors, still learning the French numbers. And the French can't even write the numbers correctly: they put a tail on a 9 and a little tick on a 1. They even put dots instead of commas to separate the thousands from the hundreds........I wish! So we decided in the end to have a joint account to simplify things. As him indoors said at the time: 'I know why we took out a joint account...it's because of my sprained wrist!' I bet Nicolas doesn't have this problem with Carla....but about that, another time.

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