2nd October 2008

Living as we do in rural France, we've come to realise that there is a strange conflict. On the one hand France seems a dynamic raring-to-go nation, ready to seize the global initiative. Only yesterday the President, as the EU Chairman, recommended that Europe provide a 300 bn Euro rescue fund to rescue crippled banks across Europe. As the world held its breath on the fate of America’s own $700 billion bank bailout plan, President Sarkozy set up his own emergency meeting for next Saturday. However, nothing runs smoothly and there was the usual scepticism from everyone. To a man, the other EU nations said that their particular country could not and would not issue a blank cheque for all banks, regardless of whether they behave in a responsible manner or not.
So, as usual, modernity versus the usual confusion and bickering everywhere. France denied at first that it had put forward a proposal for a fund at all and then, after admitting that it had done so, denied that it would cost 300 billion. Paris said that the figure had come from the Dutch Government. But officials in The Hague said that they had no idea what the French were talking about.
The usual strife, contention and argument then! What was it Confuscius said long ago? Bring in new people and everyone will think that things are going to turn out better. But in practice? It's like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic!

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