EU Political Economy, France v GB Olympic Ed'n

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 8/01/2012 12:16:00 PM
In case you missed it, the Socialist French Prime Minister Francois Hollande yukked it up with his British counterpart David Cameron at the London Games. In particular, he took a swipe at Cameron's assertion that Britain stands ready to welcome tax exiles if the French government charges tax rates over 50%:
President Francois Hollande has had a dig at David Cameron by jokingly thanking Britain for "rolling out the red carpet" for French athletes to win Olympic medals. Mr Hollande was getting his own back on Mr Cameron for comments in which the Prime Minister said he would roll out the red carpet for French businesses fleeing the 75% top rate of tax proposed by the Socialist president.
Hollande is clearly pleased with himself. As I write, France already has 11 medals including 4 gold medals to the host nation's 4. GB has yet to win a single gold medal. Overall, France lies fourth in the medals table, and Great Britain a lowly 21st...
Mr Hollande joined Mr Cameron at the Olympic Park yesterday to watch France take on Spain in the handball, and gave the PM a few tips about the rules of the game. Speaking to the French press later, he could not hide his delight at the fact that France has so far outshone the UK at the London Games..."The British have rolled out the red carpet for French athletes to win medals and I thank them very much," quipped a smiling Mr Hollande.
I also take it as a dig at British and particularly Tory disaffection for the EU that Hollande says the French medals will count towards the "European total":
Mr Hollande also joked that British sports fans could be heartened by seeing their medals as part of the European tally. Referring to Britain's less triumphal start, he smilingly twisted the Brussels knife, saying: "It's Europe's result that counts. We'll put all the French medals in the European pot and that way the British will be happy to be European."
Har-har, Hollande. Then again, I am not so certain whether, having lost the bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics and another before that, France really wants to host one. As you all know, the UK is in recession, and it's unlikely that the Games will rescucitate the country economically since these events have been far from a boon for recent industrialized hosts (but more on that a bit later):
Several French cities, including Paris, are understood to be considering a bid for the 2024 Olympics - the 100th anniversary of the last time the summer Games were held in France. Mr Hollande said he was not announcing a candidacy for the 2024 Games, and that a final decision on mounting a bid will not be made until the venue for 2020 is announced next year. Victory for Madrid in September next year over rivals Tokyo and Istanbul could make a bid by neighbouring France less likely to succeed.