Stanley's blog

“Do you know what it means for me to see for the first time in 50 years a French European commissioner in charge of the internal market, including financial services, including the City [of London]?”
“I want the world to see the victory of the European model, which has nothing to do with the excesses of financial capitalism.”

President Sarkozy is gloating over the giving of the internal market & services portfolio to French Commissioner Michel Barnier. This kind of talk may help boost the president’s fading image in France, but does nothing to advance his apparent aim.

He gives two wrong signals. First, that the appointment ensures that the “European model” (or rather the French model) will be the future blueprint, because of the appointment of Barnier. Second,that Barnier alone decides on the relevant legislation.

This kind of public statement does not help him achieve his declared objective, as it heightens the guard of the British and riles other would-be supporters.

Talk of models is misleading. There is probably a consensus that legislation is needed to regulate further financial services. There is no consensus on its content and whether there should an EU regulator.
Any legislation will require support within the Commission services, extensive consultation, an impact assessment, an agreed draft, approval by the full college, adoption by qualified majority of the Members States in Council, and of course adoption by the European Parliament.

Worst of all, Sarkozy’s outburst plays into the hands of many critics of European integration.

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  1. Don’t worry – at least not too much. That’s Sarkozy. He likes to boast his “achievements”. And French journalists like to take whatever he says for the truth.

    What Sarko certainly does not understand is that he puts Barnier in an awkward position. To remain a credible Commissioner, we will now need to show that he is not the enemy of the City.

    Just at the time when you would have excellent reasons to be, and act as, the enemy of the City – and the whole plutocracy that still fixes the rules of the game.

    But then who would have seriously expected that Sarko would like to do anything against his friends. He is just very good at pretending, and others just incredibly gullible.

  2. Sarkozy “gives three wrong signals”, I would say. The third being that Barnier will obbey orders from Paris. Commissioners are supposed to represent the “EUROPEAN” (and NOT any national) interest.

    In theory, what should matter to designate a Commissioner is her/his competence and skills, not the nationality. If a EU Chief of State claims openly as a victory to “have put OUR guy hight there”, that is a very bad sign.

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