Daily Archives: November 15, 2010

“Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose,” the French adage goes. It might as well have been coined for the arrival of the new government announced late on Sunday. The shake-up that Nicolas Sarkozy first mooted over the summer has turned into a far more limited reshuffling of the lower orders.

The most significant change for Brussels is the one that didn’t happen: finance minister Christine Lagarde will stay put. At one point expected to move to Foreign affairs, the well-regarded former lawyer now looks likely to remain in her role until the presidential elections in spring 2012.

Her departure during the latest eurozone wobble would undoubtedly have raised questions about a change of strategy in Paris. The effect would have been compounded by the fact her opposite number in Germany, Wolfgang Schäuble, only recently came back in action after suffering health problems. Read more

The collapse in Irish and Portuguese bond prices last week triggered another round of frantic weekend meetings and emergency phone calls among European policymakers and central bankers as they sought ways to restore market calm. Yet to some observers, those efforts were ironic since the turmoil was seemingly just what Germany, the EU’s biggest and most powerful member, had ordered up.

“Isn’t this exactly what they want?” one diplomat asked. Read more