July 30, 2004

“FRANCE A PROBLEM FOR EUROPE:”

Monti’s inflexibility in applying EU rules has inspired fear. Nicknamed “Super Mario” for bending US giants Microsoft and General Electric to his will, he also drew the ire of French and German political and business leaders for making them hand back state aid, deemed illegal under EU competition rules. . . .

He is particularly scathing of France, which he scores for favouring the short-term interests of some big national companies to the detriment of EU economic development in general.

“France has become a problem for itself and for Europe. It cannot handle its successes, and often it doesn’t see them, and attributes its setbacks, which are often imaginary, to Europe.” . . .

And Monti believes the Berlusconi government has been too compliant in its dealings with France and Germany. “There’s no point in doing favours which will not be returned, to win the sympathy of the powerful.”

Somebody arrange a meeting with John Kerry.