President Sarkozy of France may be more aggressive than President Obama on publicly confronting the Iranian nuclear program, but when it comes to state ownership of companies, Mr. Sarkozy's reputation for free-market leanings has its limits. Mr. Sarkozy has appointed a friend to run EDF, which the Economist describes as "the former state electricity monopoly that is still 85% owned by the government." Under a 2004 law, the French state "has to hold at least 70% of the capital and voting rights," according to the EDF Web site. It makes one think the New York Times's declaration that socialism in Europe is dead may be a little premature, or overstated. The term, or the political parties, may be dead, but the policies of state ownership live on. Here in America, the government usually just gives away money to the energy companies without owning them.
Sarkozy and State Ownership