Sarkozy: “I did not know she voted in France…”

At the Guardian’s Politics Blog, Michael White has some fun with reports that Nicolas Sarkozy has enlisted Frau Bundeskanzlerin in his French presidential re-election campaign.  Although this post’s title quote, from the Wall Street Journal blogs, suggests he may already be having second thoughts…  ANYhoo…  From Michael White’s post

We can assume that pollsters have advised Sarko that the pluses of being identified positively with the much-admired German economy will outweigh the risks . Marine Le Pen, the National Front (NF) leader, could play the nationalist card to good effect – or the socialist candidate, François Hollande (attacked by a Merkel ally for his redistributive economic policies this week), could do so in a more dignified way.

In France, as across most of the EU including Britain, jobs are increasingly the issue. How to create them? Sarko has nailed his colours to the German mast, though the Germans are flying the flag of austerity driven by central bank orthodoxy, even though the French are historically inclined to political control of the bankers.

It’s never black and white. Merkel has been nice to Cameron since the veto row in December because she needs Anglo-Saxon economic liberalism to offset the instincts of (er, um) the French. Hollande is to campaign – as Sarko did last time – in London to soothe the City, but also to woo expat French voters who live in Britain in large numbers. Why? It’s not the food or weather, it’s the economic opportunities, François.

Still we can safely assume that Cameron will not be campaigning with Sarko as Merkel will. So it’s one to watch. I’ve been taking holidays in rural France for years and, in my experience, there are more memorial plaques and exhibits to German misbehaviour today than there were when I started. Europeans always walk a delicate tightrope when their history is disturbed.

Read the whole thing.

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