French kiss – from the UK?

Hi Grit,

European politics is quite complicated. The European Commission is not elected in the same way as our national, or even our European members (MEP) are. These people are almost a law unto themselves, and they are always coming up with crazy laws. There is a set number of hours that people can work, providing the organisation you work for is over a certain size. It is possible to extend those hours, but the paperwork required to do that makes it almost not worthwhile. The current employment and discrimination laws are pretty tough. We even have age discrimination here now, so if an elderly lady of 108 applies for a job as barmaid, you cannot descrimate against her in favour of a young twenty one year old.

The UK is in a unique position in that when we agreed to sign up to the European Treaty, we (at that time the Conservatives were in power) retained a “veto”, which we can use when we wish almost.  To be fair, labour has been less inclined to use it as it gives them an opt out. They can say to the public “it wasn’t us! Blame the people in Brussels.” However, this veto of ours does not make us the most popular country in the European band because we tend to sing a different tune from time to time.

It is fair to say that France and Germany have a lot of sway in Europe, partly because they were founder members of the EU. They were both a little put out when we squeezed a “veto” as part of our conditions of entry and even more so when we refused to join the Euro currency band.

Because of the veto, euro and our historical less than comfortable relationship with the French, the friendship between the two countries is often rather chilly. Thus, although part of the French tradition of greeting is to kiss those they meet, it is unlikely that you will see the President of our neighbours giving Tony Blair a French Kiss.

the Brit


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