Well done, Monsieur le President

I saw President Sarkozy on the television the other day, being savaged by three interviewers at once. I had never seen anything like it. Three against one didn't seem fair. But Sarkozy equalled his performance in the interview just before he was elected, in which he showed up Segolene Royale for the sanctimonious old volcano of hatred that she is.

Sarkozy is a bit of a chancer, but he is a survivor also. And his public speaking gifts, born of his time as a lawyer no doubt, are impressive.

One issue he tackled was the high taxation and social security in France that made the country uncompetitive in the European market. He cited Spain as an example of a country in which even a socialist government was realising it had to keep tax and social security low in order to let the economy compete. All of this was of course completely rejected by Royale and Co. afterwards.

Sarkozy actually promised not to increase taxes, but instead to replace only one in two civil servants leaving for retirement from now on. Hurray! Perhaps that means the end of the stranglehold of the French communist bureaucracy (which survives, and runs most aspects of the country, whoever is in power.)

Today in my email inbox I received the following junk email, sent out to thousands of French business managers. Judge for yourself if Sarkozy is right to fear an exodus of French business to countries with a smaller state and lower taxes/social security.

"... Vous souhaitez vous installer à l’étranger ? Développer vos affaires vers l'Europe ? Rejoignez les chefs d'entreprises qui se sont implantés soit :

En Espagne, où les charge sociales n'excèdent pas 260 euros quelque soit le montant du salaire pour un dirigeant,

Ou en Tunisie où les sociétés totalement exportatrices de biens ou de services sont exonérées de toute imposition.

Pour toutes informations merci de contacter ..."

I think that hundreds, if not thousands, of French companies are already looking at the arguments for relocation, so Sarkozy had better 'carry on regardless' and get on with his reforms in the 18 months he has left. Even if the socialists get into power again they will not bother to reverse his changes. Bonne chance, Mr le President.

Incidentally, Sarkozy, a Hungarian imigrant's son, also had something to say about the need to limit immigration if cultural and social integration is not working fast enough. Those who noted the President's remarks that he doesn't want 'an Islam in France' but rather a 'French Islam' (ie. integrated and accepting values and traditions of the country), might like to know that Mr Sarkozy's full name is Nicholas Sarkozy de Nagy-Bocsa. His Hungarian ancestor was enobled by Ferdinand II Habsburg for his courageous service against the Turkish agressor in 1628.

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