Tuesday 5 February 2013

The French view of Europe - solidarity one way

President Hollande has fired the first shot across the bow of the British Prime Minister. He said that Europe should not suffer from an 'a la carte' attitude of its members.

Without any doubt, Hollande is referring (not very subtly) to the desire of the British Prime Minister to give the British people a voice in the process of ever closer union in Europe. Presumably, for Hollande, Europe is not an affair that requires public support but something that is stitched up between the political elites of France and Germany.

Yet, his 'a la carte' comment is also of curious provenance given that France is doing exactly that when it comes to defending its own national interests in the annual budget negotiations. At present, French negotiators are celebrating because they are close to pass legislation in the European Parliament which will reward French farmers twice (yes, TWICE) for the same services. Which services? Not to farm anything.

Unbelievable as it sounds, it is true. French farmers want to receive European subsidies twice over for not farming their fields. British and German taxpayers will pay for this little extra for the French, but of course, asking British people whether they would like to do this, is an outrage in the mind of the French president. As always, for the French political class, solidarity is a one way street.

Yet, Hollande's real fear is not the referendum Cameron offered the British people. His real concern is that the paymasters of Europe, the Germans, will finally wake up and realise how they have been blackmailed by the French political class over the last 60 years to support an undemocratic and illegitimate political circus in Brussels and Strasbourg. Hollande does not want to put the European Union on a democratic foundation. After all, if they were ever asked, the peoples of Europe may decide to have no track with this 'free for all' for French farmers at the expense of everyone else.


  1. Of course the UK farmers have been making money out of leaving land unused or fallow , we also make money out of the EU.

    I suspect if the vote goes against staying in the EU which may be likely it will be interesting to see what happens.

  2. True, there are no simple equations in the EU budget. A third of the budget goes to French farmers however and a reform of the so-called CAP is overdue, I think.

    I wonder if you are right about the outcome of any future vote though. Much depends, I suppose, on what deal is on the table for the British to stay or leave?