Wednesday, December 14, 2005

History Repeats

The French state is stuck on appeasement again - not just their muslim rioters, but their big farmers too. The French people will find to their cost that appeasement delays the inevitable and increases the pain. Sadly, as with previous French acts of appeasement, the rest of the world will suffer too.

Here's the story on the farmers:

...France steadfastly refuses to countenance any reduction in farm subsidies, bringing the EU budget negotiations in Brussels and the World Trade Organization talks in Hong Kong, both climaxing this week, to the brink of collapse.

Dominique de Villepin, the French Prime Minister, declared yesterday that France would veto any EU budget agreement at tomorrow’s Brussels summit, or world trade deal, that entailed cutting farm subsidies before the EU’s next seven-year budget ends in 2013. “We will not accept an accord that obliges Europe to start a new reform of the Common Agricultural Policy,” he told the French Parliament.

The European Commission figures show why French farmers are so attached to the EU subsidies. More than 131,000 French farmers took €20,000 (£13,000) or more from Brussels in 2003, far more than the combined total of 104,000 farmers from Britain, Italy and Germany who receive that amount.

Neil O’Brien, of the Open Europe think-tank, said: “The world trade talks will fail because the EU won’t budge, the EU won’t budge because France won’t budge, and France won’t budge because its farmers have it over a barrel.”

The French want to force the Brits to solve the EU's budget problem by becoming its biggest sponsor. Since the UK is the EU's most reluctant member, the Brits will head for the exit as their tax bills rocket, and the fallout will be messy.

Then, by blocking reduction in farm subsidies at the WTO, France keeps the people of the third world trapped under dictatorships feeding off Western aid, rather than enabling them to trade their way to prosperity and democracy. When this unstable mixture explodes, France will be on the ringside and maybe in the ring.

Unfortunately, the rest of the world will also suffer the consequences of the French government's appeasement - history does repeat itself.