¿El deterioro de Francia?

Los franceses son extremadamente sensibles (por no decir que se ponen a la defensiva) en cuanto a la estatura de su país en el mundo. El Estado francés gasta enormes cantidades de dinero en la propagación de su idioma y su cultura, y sin embargo, los franceses están dolorosamente conscientes de que la posición global de su país ya no es lo que alguna vez fue.

No es sorprendente, entonces, que durante las últimas elecciones presidenciales, la publicación de un informe de la Comisión Europea, que sostenía que en lo económico Francia había pasado del tercero al décimo lugar entre los países europeos en un lapso de diez años, haya provocado exámenes de conciencia y controversias. Poco después, el presidente Jacques Chirac acusaba a su rival, Lionel Jospin, de provocar un "deterioro de Francia".

La OCDE y Eurostat, el órgano europeo encargado de ese tipo de datos, pensaron que habían acabado con ese aspecto de la polémica al demostrar que Francia, Alemania, Italia y Gran Bretaña tienen aproximadamente los mismos niveles de vida per cápita. Pero el debate más general no cedió. De nuevo aparecieron las menciones sobre "el deterioro francés" durante las protestas callejeras de este año en contra de la reforma del sistema de pensiones, las crecientes disputas sobre política fiscal con la Comisión Europea y los altercados con Estados Unidos acerca de la guerra en Iraq.

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