Thursday, January 12, 2006

"C'est comme ça"

Opining on the HP withdrawal from l’hexagon, a computer engineer formerly employed in California’s high-tech wonders what de Villepin’s political aneurism is all about:

«The Elysée got involved on September 20 when president Jacques Chirac appealed to the European Commission to 'do something' about the layoffs; the EC replied, as surely Chirac knew it would, that it has no authority to block HP's plan.

Next, prime minister Dominique de Villepin said that HP France should pay back financial subsides it accepted when it set up business in France, including, for example, a EUR 1.2 million grant from the city of Grenoble.

HP France president Patrick Starck went to Le Figaro to deny that the company had ever accepted a cent from the French government and, by the way, HP has paid EUR 700 million in taxes over the past 10 years. »
What’s it all about, then? Public posturing:
«The latest is that Starck and Hewlett-Packard Europe head Francesco Serafini were called into the office of employment minister Gérard Larcher; Serafini emerged to say that the exact number of cuts was not ''definitive" and "could be reduced". That left de Villepin to opine about "lessons learned" and to propose a "code of good conduct" for companies who accept money from the State, which HP still says it never did.

Lastly, de Villepin differentiated between HP, a profitable American company, and STMicroelectronics, a Franco-Italian high-tech company that also recently announced layoffs because the latter had experienced financial ''difficulties''.

For Chirac and de Villepin, the HP layoffs are what Americans call a two-fer; you get two political paybacks fer the cost of one soapbox. First, they get to be seen to be standing up for workers and protecting French jobs; secondly, they get to make jabs at an American corporate giant.»
As they say, "C'est comme ça" known otherwise as "wahhhhhhhh!"

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