Skip to comments.A Pro-American View from France (Alain Madelin at Heritage Foundation)
Posted on 04/06/2003 2:48:40 PM PDT by Stultis
|Date:||April 4, 2003|
|Time:||12:00 noon - 1:30 pm|
Former Minister and Member of Parliament, France
Deputy Director, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies
The Heritage Foundation
Not everybody in France endorses the strongly anti-American line that has been espoused by French President Jacques Chirac. In fact, Mr. Chiracs current policy on Iraq has given rise to a growing chorus of critical voices in France, who argue that by siding with the brutal Iraqi dictatorship against the United States, Mr. Chirac is making a serious foreign policy mistake. These critics do not come from the Socialist/Communist opposition but mainly from politicians of his own majority coalition, even if they cannot state their opposition with a strong voice in France at the moment.
As fellow leader of the Parti Républicain, Mr. Madelin was the key political force in Mr. Chiracs governing coalition between 1986 and 1988. He was Minister of Enterprise between 1993 and 1995, and a key supporter of Mr. Chiracs presidential campaign of 1995. He was briefly Minister of Economy and Finance following Chiracs election. Subsequently, he formed Démocratie Libérale, a free-market political party, representing one quarter of the Conservative coalition. Mr. Madelin was a presidential candidate in 2002, and has been a member of the French Parliament since 1978.
Mr. Madelin will be giving a major foreign policy address on April 4, at 12 noon, at The Heritage Foundation presenting a Pro-American View from France.
If you missed this on C-SPAN, Townhall.com has the video:
A Gallic rebel who dreams of Thatcherism
By Harry de Quetteville in Macon
AFTER a battering in the campaign, France's self-styled Thatcherite has been forced to admit that his dream of reforming the country's monolithic administration and protectionist outlook will remain a fantasy.
Alain Madelin, 56, has watched despairingly as foreign politicians, such as Tony Blair and Jose Maria Aznar, promote economic liberalisation while France's vast and antique bureaucracy stifles entrepreneurship.
Just questioning the dogma of France's centralist state has made him something of a political anomaly. But attacking sacred cows like industrial monopolies, rigid pension schemes and the right to strike without notice makes him a one-off.
None of his presidential rivals, on the Right or Left, has been as daring, or as foolhardy, to suggest slimming down the state machine, which employs one in three workers.
"In England, Spain or Italy I would be the normal candidate and my opponents would seem like bizarre political dinosaurs," he said while campaigning in Burgundy last week. "Only in France could it be the other way around."
M Madelin, whose youthful features bear the widest grin of any of the 16 candidates for the presidential race, in fact has little to smile about. After a political career in which he has held three ministerial posts under more conventional Right-wingers, like President Jacques Chirac, his first solo run is not taking off.
Despite his charm and ministerial pedigree, his manifesto of reform has proved unpalatable, and he is among the also-rans in the presidential race.
M Madelin, whose campaign slogan is "Let's change France", knows from bitter experience the dangers of tampering with the country's often Byzantine administration. As finance minister in Alain Juppe's government in 1995, he launched an appeal for fiscal liberalisation, and criticised the sinecures of state employees and their "accumulated advantages".
His outburst outraged the civil servants, and he lasted a mere three months.
"Tony Blair, who is supposed to be on the Left, says things in England that I could never get away with in France," he said.
Now he says the "absurdities" of French red tape have driven the country's best and brightest abroad, often to New York and London, where they and their companies can prosper without endless state interference. "In England you can set up a company in a single day," he said with wide-eyed admiration. "Here it takes months."
The newly-imposed 35 hour working week has come in for a special bashing from M Madelin, who thinks workers should be allowed to work as long as they want and to whatever age they wish. But those views, happily trumpeted across France's borders, are electoral strychnine in a country that remains widely suspicious of American-style liberalism.
With polls giving him a mere four per cent of votes he has the bemused air of a man astounded by the absurdity of the society in which he lives.
Little has changed, M Madelin's manner suggests, since his 19th century liberal predecessor Frederic Bastiat complained sardonically to the French parliament that it must act against the sun, which was driving the country's candle makers out of business.
Not being able to speak out speaks volumes.
Can hardly believe I found a Telegraph article you missed!
A four-percent Froggie.
Oh well. God was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if ten righteous men could be found there.
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