The MasterBlog: The odd couple at Europe’s helm
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

The odd couple at Europe’s helm

The odd couple at Europe's helm
From The International Herald Tribune:

PARIS — She makes fun, in private, of the way he walks and talks, of his rapid, jerky gestures and facial grimaces. He mocks her deliberation, her reluctance, her matronly caution.
She has compared him to Mr. Bean and to the French comic Louis de Funès, with his curly hair and large nose. He sometimes calls her ''La Boche,'' the offensive French version of ''Kraut,'' and goes out of his way to give her an embrace and a double-cheeked kiss in the French fashion, the kind of contact that he knows very well, aides say, she cannot stand.

While the agonies of the European Union — sovereign defaults, deficits and bubbles — unfold like a great wonk drama, at their core is something more intimate: the fractured tale of Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy. They have been photographed across Europe giving the appearance of happy partnership. They are the best hope Europe has for continued unity. But they do not like each other at all.

As with any couple in trouble, economic difficulty has added to the strain. Two years ago, at the beginning of the crisis, Mr. Sarkozy burst out in public, saying, ''France is acting, while Germany is only thinking about it!''

Later, before an E.U. meeting in Brussels on the Greek bailout, the French president was in a rage at his inability to persuade Mrs. Merkel to do more for that country.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/magazine/16MerkelSarkozy-t.html


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