Only 0.69% of this blog’s readers come from France so any endorsement this blog makes of Nicolas Sarkozy will be electorally irrelevant but ConservativeHome does think his agenda is preferable to the reheated tax-and-spend policies of his second round and socialist opponent, Segolene Royal.
Sarkozy describes himself as a ‘man of the right’ and set out six defining belief criteria to substantiate that description last year:
"First, the primacy of work… Second, the need to compensate personal merit and effort… Third, respect for the rules, and for authority… Fourth, the belief that democracy does not mean weakness; Fifth, values; Sixth, . . . I’m persuaded that, before sharing, you have to create wealth. I don’t like egalitarianism."
There are real weaknesses to his agenda, however. As Martin Callanan MEP wrote on YourPlatform last October – he is no reliable Eurosceptic and will largely follow Angela Merkel in her efforts to reheat parts of the EU Constitution that his country so soundly rejected. He’s also a protectionist and has backed Chirac’s ‘pickling industrial winners’ policy. Most disappointing is his opposition to Turkey’s membership of the EU.
Fortunately, the British political establishment is largely united in supporting Turkey’s ambitions. Some UK Eurosceptics see Turkish membership as a way of thwarting political union and of delivering the kind of multi-layered, multi-speed Europe that many have long wanted. More importantly, however, rejection of Turkey sends all the wrong signals to the Muslim world. Liam Fox made the right case for Turkish membership of the EU last year – in a piece for The Sunday Telegraph:
"For Europe, the admission of Turkey to the EU is the primary test of whether the union can adapt to a changing world or whether it will become an increasingly introspective and redundant body. For European politicians, rejecting Turkey carries the risk of pushing this vitally important country into the arms of the political and religious extremists…
A senior French official complained to me last year that Turkish membership would mean that "we could never have a political Europe, only an economic one". Stifling a "three cheers to that", I pointed out what a sadly dated view of the world this was. Even more disturbing was the deeply unpleasant undercurrent present during the French and Dutch referendums last year on the EU constitution, where anti-Turkish sentiment was never far from the surface and mixed with constitutional arguments. What a tragedy it would be if xenophobic elements in continental Europe had the net result of producing a much more fundamentalist Islamic state on the eastern border of Greece rather than a democratic beacon shining outwards from Europe to those denied the basic freedoms and rights we take for granted. What a mistake of truly historic proportions it would be if, by placating all that is negative in European politics, those in authority delivered future generations into a much more dangerous and destabilised continent."