Many things are going on in world affairs and France in particular. At this year’s annual gathering of the political and business elite (World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland), President Sarkozy of France gave a speech showing support for the Euro currency – currently besieged by worries over some member countries’ budget shortfalls, debt and inflation – stating that the “Euro will never be abandoned.” But he also stated that global economic and trade imbalances could “cause disaster” if they are not fixed. You can read more on Davos at the Financial Times.
Meanwhile, Europe leaders said that countries would make lending capacity more flexible but would not increase the current €440 billion in financial guarantees.
Also at Davos, US President Barack Obama expressed that France is a very close ally of the US, sparking a bit of media outcry in the UK (with whom the US traditionally has had a “special relationship”). While this development is encouraging for Franco-American diplomatic relations, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria quickly put any controversy to rest by pointing out the fact that Obama had recently made similar remarks about Great Britain.
Back in France, Prime Minister François Fillon expressed belief that his government could decrease unemployment in 2011 due to measures already taken.
On an unrelated note, the gay marriage ban has been upheld by France’s Constitutional Council, discouraging news to proponents for equal rights for homosexuals to marry. But supporters of gay marriage believe it could become an issue during the 2012 French elections – sounds a bit like the US.
As part of the International Comics Festival in Angoulême, southwestern France, US ambassador in France Charles Rivkin inaugurated an exhibit dedicated to Snoopy. Rivkin was accompanied by Jeannie Schulz, widow of US cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, creator of Snoopy 60 years ago.
Michael Barrett is a communications consultant, freelance translator and English teacher. He writes a must-read blog for expats called American Expat In France.
See more of Paris: Here are some of Bonjour Paris’s favorite tours:
Medieval Churches of Paris: Discover some of Paris’s most beautiful and lesser-known churches in the company of a medievalist.
Louvre French Masters: Escape the cold and the crowds in the Italian wing of the Louvre by learning about the evolution of French art from the late Gothic period to the monumental 19th century paintings of David and Delacroix, accompanied by an art historian.