Military initiative seeks to boost Franco-German ties

first_imgAt an informal working dinner in Bonn last week, Chirac and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl decided to step up bilateral military planning and launch a convergence process between France and Germany’s military structures.The two leaders agreed to aim for substantial progress on this issue as early as the next Franco-German summit, to be held on 5 June in Dijon.The initiative was announced after weeks of grumbling in Bonn over the lack of consultation prior to Chirac’s announcement that France was to engage upon a major overhaul of its defence, which included the scrapping of compulsory military service and making deep cuts in its armament programmes. But Chirac has convinced observers in Germany and France of his determination to make cooperation with Bonn the pivot of France’s foreign and European policy. Chirac’s decision took German defence circles largely by surprise and angered both the government and industry. German Defence Minister Volker Rühe showed his irritation over the lack of warning about the decision to scrap the draft, which triggered a debate in Germany for which Bonn was not prepared.Germany’s hard-pressed defence industry voiced fears that a reduction in French military spending would endanger a number of cooperation programmes and threaten their profitability.During their talks, Chirac and Kohl also discussed the Intergovernmental Conference, the EU summit on 21 June, and the G7 meeting in Lyon in July.The two leaders also agreed to work towards a resolution of the Franco-German dispute over the liberalisation of Europe’s electricity market which is holding up agreement on the issue. Bonn wants to introduce a large measure of competition, while Paris is keen to preserve the position of its state-run monopoly Electricité de France (EDF).In another show of their determination to avoid future irritations due to miscommunication, Kohl and Chirac agreed to meet roughly every six weeks, including meetings at multilateral summits.The run-up to and the outcome of the Bonn meeting are characteristic of the way in which Franco-German ties have evolved since Chirac’s election to the presidency a year ago. The French president’s taste for spontaneous action and decision-making without prior consultation, politically justified as part of the Gaullist presidential tradition, often irritates his German partners.last_img read more

How We Assign Blame for Corporate Crimes

first_imgmsnbc:Whether the public blames Wall Street or its bankers for bad decisions depends a lot on the group’s level of cohesion as well as its mindfulness, or ability to “think,” suggests a new study.The researchers wanted to find out how people choose to blame large collectives, such as a major corporation, political party , governmental entity, professional sports team or other organization, while still treating members of those groups as unique individuals. They found that the more people judge a united group as having a “mind”— the ability to think, intend or plan — the less they judge each member as having their own capacity to complete acts requiring such a mind. The opposite also held.“We thought there might be certain cases where instead of attributing mind to individuals, people actually attribute mind to the group,” study researcher Liane Young, an assistant professor of psychology at Boston College, said in a statement.Read the full story: msnbc More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more