Austerity that dare not speak its name

Published on 4 July 2012 at 13:16

“A just recovery”: the French Prime Minister has invented a euphemism to avoid the inflammatory impact of the more usual term of “austerity”. On the occasion of his 3 July general policy speech to the newly elected parliament, Jean-Marc Ayrault acknowledged that “efforts” would be necessary but denied that they would amount to “a change of direction”, notes Libération.

Two days after the publication of a Court of Auditors report which spoke of the “imperative” need to reduce France’s deficit to 3% of GDP in 2013 — a measure that will involve cuts worth 33 billion euros — the daily remarks on the “fine line that separates the “national effort” demanded by Ayrault and “the austerity” that he claims to oppose”.

For its part, Le Monde points out that

Rarely has a government found itself so constrained by a crisis. Caught in the vice of sovereign debt and the obligation to fulfill its European commitments, the new administration has hardly any room for manoeuvre. (...) One keyword, the “French dream” often cited by François Hollande [in the course of his presidential campaign], has all but disappeared from M. Ayrault’s vocabulary. The time for lyrical illusions has come and gone. Now it is time for "effort".

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