Destinations Magazine

The Dispensable French

By Stizzard
The dispensable French

BACK in September, as Germany struggled to cope with the politics and logistics of the greatest influx of refugees in modern history, France decided to put on a show of European solidarity. French bureaucrats, armed with Arabic translators and loudspeakers, chartered three coaches and set off for the German city of Munich. The idea was to fill the vehicles with refugees and drive them over the Rhine to France, thus easing Germany’s load. The French had planned to fetch some 1,000 asylum-seekers. But in the end, only a few hundred could be persuaded to climb on board. It seemed they were not interested in French solidarity; they wanted to live in Germany. The coaches left half-empty.

The pattern was a familiar one. As Europe has scrambled to respond to the ground-shifting events of the past few months—first the Greek currency drama, now the refugee crisis—France has found itself increasingly marginalised: at best a junior partner to Mrs Merkel, at worst a mute spectator. With Greece teetering on the brink of expulsion from the euro zone in July, Mr Hollande cajoled, consulted and mediated. But it was Mrs Merkel’s word, after the best part of a long…

The Economist: Europe

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