Socialist Francois Hollande defeated conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy to become France’s next president, heralding a change in how Europe tackles its debt crisis and how France flexes its military and diplomatic muscle around the world.
I was never a big Sarkozy fan, but Hollande’s policies may have an impact well beyond France.
Hollande inherits an economy that’s a driver of the European Union but is deep in debt. He wants more government stimulus, and more government spending in general, despite concerns in the markets that France needs to urgently trim its huge debt.
Will France join the PIGS? And Greece votes also:
Greek voters enraged by economic hardship have (overnight NZ time) deserted traditional governing parties in droves at elections, putting the country’s future in the euro zone at risk, according to an early projection by the Interior Ministry.
The projection, confirming a pattern in earlier exit polls, showed the two parties supporting an EU/IMF bailout that is keeping Greece from bankruptcy would struggle to form a workable coalition government.
To be blunt current Greek culture is very unhealthy, and they are architects of their own misfortune. While small incidents, the stories of a Kiwi traveller there are symbolic of their problems:
The next day I’m at the bus stop early to get back up to the top of Meteora but it doesn’t come. Like many things in Greece they have a real CBF attitude – and they wonder why their economy is rooted.
The whole riot thing doesn’t really bother me though, as I’ve been informed most of it is just for the TV cameras and once they’re gone the rioters can be found a few blocks away drinking chi.
I guess that’s hardly surprising, the Greeks do have a reputation for being lazy, but in a way it’s extraordinary given they were the ones to invent such things as democracy.
I first encounter this laziness when I visit the Archeology Museum primarily to see the Greek vase collection which takes up the entire first floor.
I’m ridiculously excited (nerdy I know) but ever since I studied them at high school I’ve been a little obsessed.
But when I get there I discover the collection is closed.
When I ask I’m told – “just because.”
So I ask someone else and they helpfully inform me that they didn’t feel like putting on enough staff to cover it today, even though it’s the weekend.
And while only a museum collection, it is symbolic of the country overall.
Back to Greeks being lazy… they have a equal CBF attitude when it comes to showcasing their most prized possession – the Acropolis.
Most days it closes at 3pm but somedays earlier – it just depends on how they feel.
I suspect that Greece will have to be thrown out of the Euro, and have their own currency devalue to very low levels, for Greece to realise the rest of the world won’t keep funding your lifestyle.