Is France the euro nation to worry about?
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Tomorrow, a court decision in Germany could throw EU bailout plans into turmoil.
Until then, the euro’s second-largest economy has been in the spotlight. France finds itself in a similar bind as Greece, Italy and Spain: How do you balance the state budget without crippling economic growth?
Many are starting to worry that France could become Europe’s next “basket case” economy. As the unemployment rate there creeps above 10 percent, “there’s this general feeling of drift,” says the BBC’s Hugh Schofield, “that nothing’s seriously being done to take on these huge problems.”
President Francois Hollande has seen his approval ratings plummet in the wake of these financial troubles.
“He came into power four months ago very much on the basis that he represented a kind of anti-Nicolas Sarkozy,” Schofield points out. “And the prevailing impression here is that for the last couple months, he’s just rested on that justification… but there’s been no sense that he’s got a program himself to tackle these urgent problems.”
Meanwhile, France’s richest man and chief executive of LVMH, Bernard Arnault, has applied for Belgian citizenship — a move which many speculate is a demonstration that he is not for the additional taxes proposed by the socialist government in the country. Arnault denies this motivation, citing both personal and business reasons and declaring that he would still remain a fiscal resident of France.
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