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Paul Mason v. Sarkozy: "Rest assured I have a whole bunch of other impertinent questions to ask heads of state"

Leo Goretti 4 November 2011

Fresh from shouting "how can people take you seriously?" at the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as he arrived at the Cannes G20 summit, Paul Mason has also clashed with French President Nicholas Sarkozy. As Mason writes for the BBC News website, Sarkozy fumed when the journalist, during the press conference, asked him

It's evident that you and Mme Merkel, the two most powerful governments in Europe, are trying to change the governments of Italy and Greece. How is that just? And once it's started, where does it stop?

Sarkozy bitterly retorted that Mason does not understand "the subtleties of the European construction" because he is "from an island."

Given that within hours Italy has been forced to accept IMF "surveillance," and that EU officials are at pains to establish a national unity government in Greece, Mason's questions surely deserve a better answer.

In his piece, Mason also points out the inability of the global leaders to handle the Eurozone crisis:

It is like pass the parcel with a stick of financial Semtex: Greece as the detonator, Italy as the explosive mass.

While austerity measures are imposed on ordinary people and the world leaders look helpless, it is the journalist's duty to raise uncomfortable questions, Mason writes:

Europe's problems nearly always start with miscommunication: the Ems telegram and the Zidane headbutt being just two examples. It's better to vent frustration and to address the unasked questions.

Rest assured I have a whole bunch of other impertinent questions to ask the heads of state of China, Russia etc should they care to come on Newsnight.

Visit the BBC News to read Paul Mason's article in full.

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