Der Niedergang Frankreichs?

Die Franzosen sind bekanntlich sensibel wenn nicht defensiv was das Ansehen Frankreichs in der Welt betrifft. Der französische Staat gibt viel Geld für die Propagierung der französischen Sprache und Kultur aus und doch sind sich die Franzosen schmerzlich bewusst, dass die globale Position ihres Landes nicht mehr den gleichen Stellenwert besitzt wie früher.

Es ist also keine Überraschung, dass die Veröffentlichung eines Berichtes der Europäischen Kommission während der vergangenen Präsidentschaftswahlen, in dem behauptet wurde, dass Frankreich in der wirtschaftlichen Rangliste der europäischen Länder in einem Zeitraum von zehn Jahren vom dritten auf den zehnten Platz gefallen ist, zu einer Gewissensprüfung und zu Kontroversen führte. Schon bald gab Präsident Jacques Chirac seinem Rivalen Lionel Jospin die Schuld am "Niedergang Frankreichs".

Die OECD und Eurostat, das für solche Daten verantwortliche europäische Amt, hielten diesen Aspekt der Debatte durch ihre Darlegung, dass Frankreich, Deutschland, Italien und Großbritannien alle in etwa den gleichen Lebensstandard pro Kopf genießen für beendet. Die öffentliche Kontroverse blieb jedoch erhalten. Die diesjährigen Demonstrationen gegen die Rentenreform, zunehmende Streitigkeiten mit der Europäischen Kommission über die Finanzpolitik und Gezänk mit Amerika wegen des Irakkrieges ließen besorgte Diskussionen über den "französischen Niedergang" wieder aufleben.

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