Sarkozy and Israel

By Armand Laferrere, EURSOC

In a speech to the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, Armand Laferrere said that Nicolas Sarkozy’s Presidency will represent a strong change for the better for French foreign policy, particularly where Israel is concerned.

[..] I speak as a Frenchman who was always convinced that a strong alliance with the United States and support for Israel are not only geo-political necessities, but moral imperatives as well. I also speak as a former advisor to the current President, and a personal friend of several members of the new ruling team. Because I know these people, not just because of the of the election result, I am more optimistic about my country than I ever was.

However, this election does change one very important thing: I can’t even begin to tell you how good it feels to know today that I speak for a majority of the French people. A considerable majority – in a traditionally 50/50 country – elected President Sarkozy on May 6, with a historically high turnout of 86%. If polls are to be believed, an even greater majority is about to give him an even stronger mandate in next week’s general election. The Presidential party is now leading by up to 15 points – which could translate into gaining up to three quarters of the seats in Parliament.

Some of my friends are standing in these elections. The sentence they hear most often from voters is, “finally things are going to change”. Voters are not about to vote for the President’s party out of loyalty – loyalty to leaders is not exactly the French way anyway. They will vote because they want change.

The President campaigned as a radical reformer of the main weaknesses in the French social compact. The French economy is handicapped by insufficient productive activity and the high price of labor. Therefore, he promised both to put people back to work – by exonerating from taxation hours worked above the theoretical limit of 35 hours – and to make recruitment simpler by replacing the jungle of French labor laws with a single kind of work contract. Public-sector unions have blocked reforms before; therefore, he promised to make it mandatory to keep a minimum level of public services even in the case of a strike. France has a two-tier higher education system, where first-rate specialized schools coexist with impoverished universities, crumbling under student applications and prevented by law from taking bold management decisions to improve their lot: therefore, the President promised to finally give universities the power to run themselves and apply for external funds on top of their taxpayer-funded base.

June 6, 2007 | Comments Off on Sarkozy and Israel

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