In a strange set of events, French President Nikola Sarkozy claimed in a TV interview that it is unjustifiable that French car brands made abroad, for instance in the Czech Republic, should be sold in France. This is an obvious contradiction to internal market rules, and, to my best knowledge, an expression of definite protectionism.
However, the reaction that followed from the Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek is also worrying. He said that “What Nicolas Sarkozy said is unbelievable (…) If somebody wanted to seriously threaten ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, they couldn’t have picked a better means or time.”
This gives me two reasons to worry. First, obviously Mr. Sarkozy has crossed the line, and the European Commission should react immediately. Second, any comments about the Lisbon Treaty ratification should be very well considered, and the ratification should not be used for current political debates.