German press eyes pressure for France after downgrade
German newspapers on Saturday saw France's loss of its top triple-A credit rating as an unavoidable result of ignored reforms placing the country and its leader under pressure.
"Bonjour Tristesse" (Hello Sadness) headlined the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, saying that not only the economic crisis but also President Nicolas Sarkozy bore responsibility for France's woes.
"Sarkozy recognised the debt problems too late. He eased up on the rich and is trying to fuel the economy with state debts. He's now paying the penalty," the newspaper's editorialists commented.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said the economic damage from the downgrade by Standard and Poor's should be limited "since investors for some time view France as a country of only second best solidness".
"The Socialist opposition can now brand Sarkozy as the president of a degraded country," it added.
France was paying the price of not having carried out structural reforms, while its government "could not spend enough money during the world economic crisis of 2008 and 2009," it added.
Spiegel news weekly in its online edition called Friday's downgrades which also included a raft of debt-laden EU members "The Salutary Shock". It added that it could be a useful warning after euphoria earlier in the week including over lower interest rates.
Lower borrowing costs can help a country bring its budget under control, it conceded, adding: "However interest rates kept artificially low are always a temptation for politicians to live beyond their means."
Mass-circulation Bild pointed out the "good news" for Germany which was not included in the downgrade and retains its top AAA rating, but also the bad news.
"Nevertheless the euro crisis is intensifying. The rescue of the currency is getting more expensive, also for Germany."
© 2012 AFP