It was about as scintillating as a discussion among accountants, but Social Democratic challenger Frank-Walter Steinmeier outshone conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany’s only general election television debate.
In his cautious Franglais central-bank speak, Jean-Claude Trichet has pointed to the strong possibility that the euro zone may face a double-dip or W-shaped recession.
Cynics say the French never saw a market they didn’t want to regulate, or an economic activity they didn’t want to tax. Now this levy-happy nation, with one of the highest fiscal burdens in the world, is eying a new target for taxation: carbon. And in this case, they may just be right.
The British government has chosen a strange time to announce its support for former Prime Minister Tony Blair for the not-yet-existent job of President of the European Council. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has publicly touted Blair as a good candidate, and his name is among a handful discussed among EU diplomats. But there was no obvious reason for Europe Minister Glynnis Kinnock to go public with a British candidacy now.
In a column last week, I noted how Nicolas Sarkozy was a master at signalling left while turning right. Well, in his keynote address to both houses of parliament today, the conservative president went a step further. He summoned up the burqa to camouflage his real intention -- relaunching a drive to reform France's ossified social, education and tax system.