Most of France’s influential newspapers, TV channels and radio stations are owned by a handful of businessmen, who are often careful not to upset politicians, especially when they’re in a good position to win important elections. That’s why foreign media correspondents in Paris have less of a problem being hard hitting. José Maria Marti-Font is head of the Paris bureau for the Spanish daily El Pais. He has written an article on Nicolas Sarkozy entitled “the thirst for power”.
Moving West to Germany where some of Sarkozy’s comments haven’t gone very well with a number of commentators. On two occasions Sarkozy said that no nation had contributed more to human rights than France, adding that France had not invented the holocaust , ignoring what Germany has done for the memory of the Shoah. Jacqueline Hénard is a German researcher and editorialist, she is the Paris correspondent for the Swiss Tages-Anzeiger newspaper.
"I do not agree with use history for political purposes, especially when it’s done in such a cheap manner. I mean everybody can see what he Sarkozy is trying to do. He is trying to lure voters from the National Front, the worst voters of the National Front, but I don’t think that he can go as far as that. And I think that the staff around German Chancellor Angela Merkel might remember these statements if he is elected."
"Unlike the others, and despite his long service as a minister under Mister Chirac, Sarkozy makes no bones of admitting that France needs radical change. He openly admires America; he is enthusiastic about the economic renaissance of Britain. He plans an early legislative blitz to take on hitherto untouchable issues such as labour-market liberalisation, cutting corporate and income taxes and trimming public-sector pensions."
The Economist chooses Sarkozy for a lack of anything better. The article actually devotes more column inches to criticizing Sarkozy than praising him, referring to him as a populist, someone who is less of a principled liberal than a brutal pragmatist.
"We in Germany do not see the French as naturally inclined to coalition politics."
The French are seen as being Left or right and not really anything in between. They are not consensual, this system doesn’t suit the French political system and it doesn’t fit their way of doing politics. Here in Germany, it is seen as a dream, a nice dream, but a dream.
It may be a dream but it is an idea that is tempting the French electorate. Nicolas Sarkozy is aware of that. That’s probably why he has just come out in favour of including left wing ministers in his government if elected. But for many socialists, sharing power with Sarkozy would be more a nightmare than a dream.Listen to the report:
Serbia has a golden opportunity to boost its international image when it assumes the rotating presidency of the Council of Europe next month. But Serbia's critics say the country isn't fit to lead Europe's foremost human rights body - certainly not without extraditing the indicted General Ratko Mladic. War crimes prosecutors in The Hague have criticized Belgrade for not cooperating in the hunt for Mladic, and the issue has long soured relations with the European Union. The Dutch lawyer Phon van der Biesen told Radio Netherland's Sebastiaan Gottlieb why Serbia shouldn't chair the Council of Europe.
Globalization is often used as a cover-all word for what's wrong about the modern world. But as societies become more closely knit together - it's easier to work out if life is really greener - or grayer on the other side. The Federation of International Artists and Actors had one such look at conditions around the world and found that people working in the arts - usually considered to be an attractive industry - have to put up with miserable conditions and outright exploitation in many countries. As Radio Sweden's Azariah Kiros reports, the Federation is now working to help organize artists around the world - and to safeguard their interests.
A new German film examines a little-known but fascinating episode in the Second World War. The Nazis had the amazing idea of causing the collapse of the American and British economies – by flooding them with counterfeit banknotes. The Jewish printers who made the fake money survived the Holocaust. Adolf Burger was one of them. Radio Prague’s Ian Willoughby has his incredible story.
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