France's distress and Ireland's opportunity
Every so often we are reminded that the EU does not really have a problem until it hits home in Germany and France. The French President's call for an urgent Eurozone summit to address economic stagnation is just such an occasion.
Monsieur Francois Hollande is about as low as he could be, with approval ratings in the mid-teens making him France's most unpopular leader for several decades. Belatedly, he is prepared to risk all by dishing out very tough medicine to get the nation's finances into some kind of shape.
But yesterday he also issued a call for concerted Eurozone action to stimulate economic growth. His call for an urgent summit of the currency zone's 18 leaders met with an initial favourable reaction in Berlin. German Chancellor Angela Merkel can assuage fretful German citizens by pointing to French efforts to tackle public spending and debt as grounds for an easing of public purse strings.