Tuesday 6 January 2009

How the reactions of the Czech Republic and France represent the 21st century (tribute to Publius)

Publius has written an amazing comment on the behaviour of the outgoing and incoming French and Czech EU-Council presidencies with regard to the present Gaza conflict.

I am sure that my English translation cannot capture the tone of the original (I am open for suggestions!), but it will allow those of you not too familiar with the French language to understand the main message:
[...] One of the best identified difficulties of social life is to prevent the worst actors among its members to act with precipitance in the hope to stand out in doing so. The will to succeed in politics is nothing but the most recent proof of the egomaniac right of the least considerate to be the first to cry wolf. Europe, at least originally, had the goal to protect the least powerful member states from the infelicitous and unreflective initiatives of their powerful neighbours. Let us thank France and the Czech Repulic, from now on the members of what will have been the last Troika in European history, to show to us that the solutions of the 50s - made for the people of the 50s -, which put up the proper respect of neighbours to satisfy their interests based on the founding principle of social life, are for sure not appropriate anymore for a 21st century that puts up individual success as the etalon [i.e. standard; JF] of moral life
[Remark JF: Publius has slightly changed the text later on. This translations is based on the first version.]
Tony Barber in the Brussels Blog of the Financial Times goes in the same direction - but far less expressive.


Ralf Grahn said...


When I read the post by Publius I got the impression that he had missed that the Czech mission included, if I remeber correctly, not only the Czech Foreign Minister, but the High Representative Solana, Commission Member Ferrero Waldner, Foreign Minister from the following Council Presidency Carl Bildt and - supposedly - a representative from the preceding Presidency, namely France (according to 'troika' principles).

I haven't checked for this spontaneous comment, but if my memory serves me right, only Sarkozy would merit the sarcasm.

Ralf Grahn said...


I checked the EU delegation, mentioned on the web page of the EU mission to the United Nations:


In this case the Czech Presidency does not seem to be skating solo.

Sorry to spoil half of the party for the estimated Publius this time around, but it happens to us all.

Julien Frisch said...

That's what I like in the blogosphere: It's the perfect spoiler... :-D

Seriously: I also though you were right; I had the same feeling.

Supposedly, Publius was a little bit influenced by the uncoordinated statement ("attack of Israel was 'defensive' ") the spokesperson of the Czech prime minister made earlier and projected it on the presidency as a whole.

Nevertheless, the article remains very beautiful, at least linguistically! :-)