Friday, May 20, 2005

It brings back old times!

Germans back in Paris!

They're back!
PARIS -- Those French citizens who thought they would spend a quiet day at the Louvre this week have found themselves assaulted by German youths, dozens of them...
But they weren't doing the goose step - or at least not yet.
...intent on plying them with blue-and-yellow flags, heaps of literature and long, impassioned arguments.

"I'm asking you, as fellow Europeans, to think about whether you want my people to retreat back into our old history," Hans-Stefan Stemmer, a 20-year-old Berlin university student, told a bewildered elderly couple in fluent French the other day in the museum's elegant courtyard. They declined his offer of European Union flags, but said they'd think about his entreaties.
Was that a threat, Hans?
Mr. Stemmer and hundreds of his comrades are part of a desperate last-ditch effort this week by leaders across Europe to persuade the French to vote in favour of adopting the European Union constitution in a May 29 referendum.

To the shock and horror of French leaders, the people seem prepared to defy the wishes of the elite and cast a majority Non vote. That would invalidate the constitution, which requires approval by all 25 EU countries.

Nothing seems to have worked. Polls this week show the Non side with a slight lead over the Oui vote, even though all the major French political parties are in favour, as are every major newspaper and TV station, most magazines and a truckload of celebrities, from Gérard Depardieu to Jeanne Moreau, who have been hauled in front of TV screens with increasing desperation.

None of it was working, so this week, it was time to bring in the Germans.
Ruh Oh! More by following the link, but the theme of the story is that the French are getting nervous because the EU constitution is too pro-business or pro-market or pro-capitalism. You know - that icky stuff. Sheesh, if you can wade through that mound of tedium and find anything but an ode to bureaucracy, you have a vivid imagination.

Meanwhile, I can't resist mentioning Europe unites in hatred of French:
But now after the publication of a survey of their neighbours' opinions of them at least they no longer have any excuse for not knowing how unpopular they are.
But the knockout punch to French pride came in the way the poll was conducted. People were not asked what they hated in the French, just what they thought of them.

"Interviewees were simply asked an open question - what five adjectives sum up the French," said Olivier Clodong, one of the study's two authors and a professor of social and political communication at the Ecole Superieur de Commerce, in Paris. "The answers were overwhelmingly negative."

According to Mr Clodong, the old adage that France is wonderful, it's just the French who are the problem, is shared across Europe.

"We are admired for our trains, the Airbus and Michelin tyres. But the buck stops there," he said.
Hit the article for the adjectives, but here's a sample:
Interestingly, the Swedes consider them "disobedient, immoral, disorganised, neo-colonialist and dirty".
The Swedes, yet!