French foolishness

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Jacques Chirac appears to be losing it. As his capital city erupts in protest, the President of France walks out of high level EU meetings because one of his countrymen dared to speak in English. Sky News reports:

The President and three of his ministers left as an employers' leader declared English "the accepted business language of Europe".

The drama happened as EU leaders sat down for talks on jobs and economic growth with trade unions and business.

President Chirac lost his cool when Earnest—Antoine Seilliere declined to use his mother tongue.

Diplomats did their best to disguise his walkout as a coincidence, but no—one was fooled.

"As soon as Mr Seilliere decided to speak English... it was inevitable that President Chirac would have to make a stand," said one.

The French are extremely sensitive about the growing use of English in the EU.

Paris is once again engulfed in riots by "youths." This time, the "youths" in question are the elite students at France's highly selective colleges such as the Sorbonne, who protest a proposal that would allow them to be fired during a two year probationary period. As the great Thomas Sowell put it, they are protesting against logic, since the reform would encourage employers to take the risk of hiring a new employee, putting a dent in the 23% unemployment rate among "youths." Better no job at all than the risk of being fired from an actual job (and that risk only for two years) bespeaks a mentality in retreat from reality.

The French have some admirable qualities (I realize that is an increasongly controversial statement), but pragmatism is assuredly not among them. Their bluster has always been comic, but now it is getting pathetic.

Hat tip: Joseph Crowley

Thomas Lifson  3 24 06

Jacques Chirac appears to be losing it. As his capital city erupts in protest, the President of France walks out of high level EU meetings because one of his countrymen dared to speak in English. Sky News reports:

The President and three of his ministers left as an employers' leader declared English "the accepted business language of Europe".

The drama happened as EU leaders sat down for talks on jobs and economic growth with trade unions and business.

President Chirac lost his cool when Earnest—Antoine Seilliere declined to use his mother tongue.

Diplomats did their best to disguise his walkout as a coincidence, but no—one was fooled.

"As soon as Mr Seilliere decided to speak English... it was inevitable that President Chirac would have to make a stand," said one.

The French are extremely sensitive about the growing use of English in the EU.

Paris is once again engulfed in riots by "youths." This time, the "youths" in question are the elite students at France's highly selective colleges such as the Sorbonne, who protest a proposal that would allow them to be fired during a two year probationary period. As the great Thomas Sowell put it, they are protesting against logic, since the reform would encourage employers to take the risk of hiring a new employee, putting a dent in the 23% unemployment rate among "youths." Better no job at all than the risk of being fired from an actual job (and that risk only for two years) bespeaks a mentality in retreat from reality.

The French have some admirable qualities (I realize that is an increasongly controversial statement), but pragmatism is assuredly not among them. Their bluster has always been comic, but now it is getting pathetic.

Hat tip: Joseph Crowley

Thomas Lifson  3 24 06