Europe's 'Opposite Twins' Clash Over Future - WSJ.com: "In Paris, Mr. Sarkozy sometimes referred to the German chancellor as the 'woman from the East' during cabinet meetings, a spokesman let slip. Aides to the president say he was often frustrated because Ms. Merkel didn't show enthusiasm for his initiatives"
The cited article is a must read for anyone trying to understand the status of the current Europe. Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy are so different that they might be able to collaborate just because of this but, of course, each leader have chosen an administration of people they get along with and these two teams have been fighting it out for a while now after the debt crisis of Greece.
Yesterday there was an article by Hans-Werner Sinn, apparently one of Germany's heaviest economists who writes for Project Syndicate, where he blamed president Sarkozy for the unnecessary bail-out on €750bn of the "Club-Med". Sinn does not agree but the political elite in Germany speak in terms of separating northern Europe from southern where they want to place France. Polls are down for both Sarkozy and Merkel but most worries are for Merkel whose coalition with FDP, that have gone from a 15% support at the election to 5% now, is in apparent danger. Bo-Inge Andersson at SVT claims the animosities are real between CDU and FDP.
Right now there is an ongoing process of establishing an economic government for the EU. According to observers, France and Germany differ in the proper understanding of what this steering mechanism actually would entail. The Economist reported a while ago that 50% of the people of France think capitalism is kaput vs. 8% for the people of Germany. The export machine of Germany is therefore running full steam while the French ponder what to do next.
I'm not sure but there might be a polarization in Europe on whether there will be more integration or not. Charlemagne made an interesting note on the difference between politicians in member countries and the Eurocrats in terms on how they value money. The Eurocrats anticipate a bright future with increasing revenue for their trade whereas the nationals worry on how to make ends meet, being the ones that actually are the bread winners.