Sarkozy: An example to Europe

While it is true that Nicolas Sarkozy’s extraordinary appearance at the Ecofin meeting in Brussels was somewhat theatrical, perhaps, as noted by Petros Papaconstantinou in his commentary (July 12), it also serves as an example to others. In the first place, on the to-do list: Keep your electoral promises. Sarkozy is willing to sacrifice the European ideal to ensure that he has the tools to manage the needs of the country he now leads. This may be national expediency, but more generally the idea that politicians actually do what they promise is a welcome breeze of fresh air. On the not-to-do list will have to be several issues. And this is where I disagree with Papaconstantinou. Sarkozy is creating a crack in the solid foundation of the euro. Germans blame him for a full-frontal attack against the common currency. I cannot see this as public relations, nor can I see how this should lead to any serious questioning of the basic principles by which our currency is managed. It is acceptable to think that monetary dogmatism is not always healthy, but we should very much seek to protect the independence of the European Central Bank and the euro. Europe should not go back to the old days. Many European countries, not only France, would certainly benefit from tax cuts and a devaluation of the euro against the dollar. Even Greek tourism might get a boost too. But with economic growth as it is, that would only have the effect of a morning drink when a hangover is at its worst. It is not going to solve the problem, just postpone the effects. TEEMU LEHTINEN, Athens.

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