February 9, 2009
In a debate on French TV, President Sarkozy said the UK’s VAT cut had “absolutely not worked“. “Britain is cutting taxes. That will bring them nothing. Consumption continues to decrease,” he said.
The British Prime Minister’s spokesperson, when asked about this, said:
“The Elysee [Palace] have been in contact this morning to assure us that these remarks were not meant as a critique of UK economic policy – which is nice.”
“It is important to remember the context in which he was making the comments, which as I understand it, was a domestic debate on television about the way forward for the French economy and French proposals for an economic stimulus.”
Who’s kidding whom? In today’s communication world, such remarks cannot remain domestic and constituted a gratuitous criticism of Sarkozy’s closest ally during the monetary crisis.
If only President Sarkozy would take greater care in his public speaking.
He has now suggested in an interview that French car companies should move production back home from countries like the Czech Republic. This drew an angry response from Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, who said:
“What Nicolas Sarkozy said is unbelievable”. “If somebody wanted to seriously threaten ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, they couldn’t have picked a better means or time”.
Topolanek later told a news conference that comments like Sarkozy’s gave ammunition to opponents of the treaty who say it would harm smaller countries – a big issue for some in Topolanek’s ruling party that has held up ratification.
“The main argument of those who do not agree with the Lisbon Treaty today … is that the big countries will create ground, by a shift in authorities to the European level, for a greater influence over the areas concerned,” he said.
“If one of the big countries like France makes a comment like Nicolas Sarkozy, then it proves these people right. If this is what the future of the EU should be, then I have to say it is not good news for all the smaller countries.”Author : Stanley Crossick