More Contempt from the Poet

Posted by John Rosenthal

On Wednesday, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin published a plea for the construction of a “new political Europe” in Le Monde and five other European papers, including the Financial Times. The opening paragraph reads as follows:

Europe is in crisis. Yet never have its peoples so forcefully expressed their hope to see a Europe of values and determination, capable of addressing their social imperatives, being built. True to our continent’s history and our vision of the future, France wants to move forward with them on the path mapped by Jacques Chirac, French president.


(Disclaimer: The crappy translation – inhale after "determination" – is apparently the work of the French Foreign Ministry, with seemingly not a lot of help from its friends at the Financial Times. In any case, it is not mine.)

“True to our continent’s history and our vision of the future, France wants to move forward with the peoples of Europe on the path mapped by Jacques Chirac, French President.” Now, wait a minute: Didn’t 55% of French voters just reject the so-called EU Constitution, which “Jacques Chirac, French President” advocated as the way forward – indeed, the only way forward – toward a “political Europe”?

Speaking of constitutions, evidently the constitutional thinker most admired by de Villepin and Chirac must be Louis XIV, who is famously supposed to have exclaimed: “L’État, c’est moi” – “The state – that’s me!”

(Note: For background, see "’European Man’ to the Rescue".)

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