Friday, October 28, 2011

Deal widens Paris-Berlin divisions

Financial Times
October 28, 2011

The struggle between France and Germany that made this week’s eurozone rescue plan so difficult to finalise is often portrayed as a personal tussle between a cautious Angela Merkel and a hyperkinetic Nicolas Sarkozy.

But the differences between the two countries go far deeper than the personal antagonism between the German chancellor and the French president that occasionally flared during the drawn-out negotiations leading up to Wednesday’s summit.

Officials say the difficulty in reaching a final deal is a product of sharp differences in economic and political cultures that have only become more intense as the crisis worsened, with both sides losing room to manoeuvre or compromise.

“It is not about the day-to-day things,” said one senior European official. “There is a political and economic structure behind the two countries that is just too different.”


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