L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

07 February 2008 Blog Home : February 2008 : Permalink

Surrender Monkey Sarko

So President Sarko, France's man of steel who can extract a Euro and a grovelling apology from Ryanair, has decided to surrender to some revolting taxi drivers. I blame it on the new wife keeping him occupied so he doesn't feel the need to go around beating up innocent French slackers. As AFP reports:

An economists' report on boosting growth presented to President Nicolas Sarkozy last month called for several regulated professions -- including the taxi business -- to be opened up to more competition.

It urges the government to issue tens of thousand of extra taxi licences, saying the number of Paris taxis, for example, should increase from 16,000 to around 50,000.

But taxi drivers warn the proposed changes would put many of them out of business -- and cause the resale value of their hard-earned licences to collapse -- without benefiting consumers.

The drivers union (La Fédération Nationale Des Artisans Du Taxi - artisans? yeah right...) protested last week blocking various airports and roads and again yesterday causing chaos via "Operation Escargot" - i.e. driving down the road at a snail's pace. This behaviour is the sort of thing that one might have expected to result in strident denounciations from Super Sarko, mobilizations of tow trucks and so on but for some reason not in this case. On the contrary in a demonstration of a spine almost as rigid as a jellyfish, Sarko's Prime Minister Francois Fillon (or rather an advisor to the PM) invited the union leader to coffee and cakes and during their chat stated that actually they were going to change their mind and not liberalise the taxi-driver regulations after all.

I'm sure the new Mrs Sarkozy, as an Italian mama, knows the recipe for Ossobuco and I hope she serves it to her new man and his government.