In a bid to be elected to office for the first time in his life, Dominique de Villepin has espoused the doctrine of “economic patriotism”.
Economic patriotism may gain votes in a nation neurotically prone to see its self-inflicted decline as part of a vast Anglo-Saxon plot. But the thwarting of competition is bad for consumers, who end up paying more; for companies, which are deprived of the incentive to sharpen their performance; and, despite pious invocation of the French “social model”, for job creation.
He’ll just be harming those minority immigrants he cares so much about and denies so vehemently are setting fire to the Peugot round the block.
The prime minister is leading his country down a blind alley. At the European level, he and his imitators should be pursued by the commission. At home, it is Mr Sarkozy’s job to prevent him from ever holding elected office.