I can’t help feeling that no sooner do I lift someone up than I find I have to knock him down again. I ended the last post offering a best case scenario excuse for Jacques Chirac, but now another topic lands on my in-tray: France and strategic industries.
Regular readers will remember that just before the summer break we had a lengthy debate about whether yoghurt was a strategic industry in the French case. Well here it comes back again, since EU observer is reporting that French industry minister Francois Loos is proposing to establish a list of industry sectors in which the rench government would restrict takeovers of key companies by foreign bidders. (Tim Worstall is also onto the story here, and Reuters has a good summary of what we know so far here).
A Commission spokesman has said “Whatever they do politically, clearly I have full confidence in the fact that they are going to stick to the European Union rules which are governing economic business in the European Union”. I couldn’t put it better myself. We should all have confidence that the French government are going to stick by the rules, since, lets be clear, this isn’t a simple issue of weights and measures, and not playing by the rules would be a serious issue.