Politics

Nicolas Sarkozy, the conformist president

Article published on March 20, 2012
Article published on March 20, 2012
In 2007, the future elected president campaigned on the value of working, with the famous slogan 'work more to earn more' and on the idea of a real breakdown. The summaries used to describe it clearly indicate: Sarkozy was seen as someone who was liberal, pragmatic and pro-American, common values but not very French. Five years later, people no longer feel that these values still apply to him.
It is a story of a 12-point change for which this is the half-dozen

1 / Opening

In domestic policy, the five year term started, marked by the opening: well-known people from the left and civil society made an appearance in the government, like Bernard Kouchner or Fadela Amara for example. The last Cabinet reshuffle has ended the opening once and for all, signifying the return of Chirac's loyal followers. The opening was an interesting gamble and Nicolas Sarkozy was initially congratulated for this strategic choice: giving certain positions to well-known people from other political sides, the president wanted to demonstrate that some decisions should not necessarily have to be partisan and acknowledge the French political divide. Furthermore, the announcement of the opening has had the effect of disconcerting and weakening an already drained opposition that has been plunged into a delicate situation. It has now been buried, there was too much discontentment even within the government and well-known people emerging from the opening who have struggled to exist especially when it came to defending positions that were not theirs.

2 / Liberalism

The economic earthquake that shook the world for four years will have profoundly marked the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy. He launched a rescue plan for the French banks in 2008, in order to avoid complete bank failure in France. It is not so much the gesture but rather the words that accompany it, which are significant: announcing in Toulon that in fact, 'it is a certain idea of globalization, which concludes with the end of financial capitalism, thus imposing its logic on the whole economy and contributing to the corruption of it' it is the death of liberalism, which is confirmed. Finally, it makes way for a figure who is more French and above all fatherly, looking after the French, whose country would be the victim of a world that is not its own. The recent affirmations regarding the rescue of SeaFrance by the organisation of redeployments are a perfect example.

La première dame de France a souvent symbolisé le changement de politique de son désormais mari.

3 / Austerity plans

The last part of the mandate is marked by the Euro crisis and the sovereign debts. In order to reduce the deficit, two austerity plans have been prepared, 12 and 7 billion euros respectively. Some measures are going in the right direction, such as speeding up the pension reform and reducing funds in some departments, but it is inadequate: many spending cuts can be made in the French administration where numerous inefficiencies still persist. In 2007 Sarkozy would have probably been put to work to reduce them, but today he no longer has the audacity or the necessary support of the nation to implement these reforms. Instead, the austerity plans propose other measures such as increasing taxes on tobacco and soft drinks. These are insignificant considering the situation in France.

4 / Europe

In Europe, the turbulent management of the Eurozone crisis will leave an aftermath that no one can truly imagine today. Nicolas Sarkozy is in a very difficult position: it is important to put an end to this crisis in Europe but at the same time preserve the dynamics of the Franco-German relationship. The diagnosis of the crisis is not the same for the two countries, making the situation very complex. The management of this crisis is disastrous: decisions are made too late and only delay the problem a few weeks at a time.

5 / Crisis

The election stakes in France intensifies this apparent inactivity a little more: for Nicolas Sarkozy it is a very good thing to be able to rap over the knuckles of bankers, who are traditionally very unpopular in France. But ultimately, these criticisms of all-out deregulation, finance and bankers are only shifting the problem. The perfect scapegoat has been found, and nothing has been done to resolve the EU governance crisis. At that level, another victim has been found with the UK, who refused to sign the new EU treaty. This manner of clearing ones name allows the European leaders to keep their image intact will not allow the crisis to be resolved. In fact, it's quite the opposite!

6 / Germany

Nicolas Sarkozy is nothing but Angela Merkel's little dog in a Euro zone that is heading straight into a wall

Generally speaking, this crisis demonstrates the absence of governance on a European scale and the absence of charismatic and powerful people who are capable of making the decisions that are imperative to ending this crisis. Take Sarkozy for example. It is rare for him to share the views of the German chancellor Angela Merkel but he is too concerned about preserving the relationship between the two countries to express his disagreement. And as Germany is in a far better economic situation, Nicolas Sarkozy must yield. So the French president has had to relinquish the Eurobonds amongst other things. More courage, like the courage he proved he had during the war in South Ossetia in Georgia, would be beneficial not only to France but also to the whole of Europe. The impression given is currently that of a Nicolas Sarkozy who is only the little dog of Angela Merkel in a Eurozone which is heading for disaster.