Nicolas Sarkozy has almost always presented himself as the one candidate ready to make the tough reforms necessary to get France moving again. And yet, over the past two weeks, he has made comments highly inconsistent with his usuall "capitalist" mantra, unnerving some, and making others question how dedicated he is to true reform.
As Eursoc described yesterday, his first statement came last Wednesday at a rally in Lille, where he strongly attacked foreign takeovers of major French companies, highlighting the acquisition of the stell group Arcelor by Lakshmi Mittal.
"Look at the waste of Arcelor, which we sold off on the cheap because we believed that the steel industry was history. They got it wrong. They lied."
And just this past Sunday night, Sarkozy attacked hedge funds that:
(Funds) that buy up a company, sell it off in pieces, sack 25% of the staff in the meantime, collect 25% profit and create zero wealth. I don't want a speculative capitalism. I want a capitalism that creates riches.
This is not all bad. If Sarkozy can make the reform necessary to compete in a global economy palatable to a wary French populace, he will have succeeded far beyond many expectations. But if he is simply reverting to tried and false economic nationalism, he may not be that different than the rest.
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