"In the past six months, questions have arisen about what France is offering in terms of fresh ideas, and how it is dealing with the rest of Europe. (...) European diplomats from a range of member states, speaking on condition of anonymity, are more blunt. 'You don't hear France's voice at all. They are nowhere, just nowhere', said a senior European diplomat who is in frequent contact with other member states. 'This is a critical country and yet it seems absent', he said, mentioning as an example a lack of sustained French input to the debate on how to strengthen economic and monetary union. 'It's not just strange, it's worrying', he said. 'Everyone is aware of the problem. There's concern at multiple levels'. Even France accepts something is wrong. (...) There is broad agreement that one root of the problem lies in France's inability so far to follow Germany's lead in reforming its economy. A lack of economic competitiveness has undermined France's ability to project influence in Brussels".
Luke Baker and Mark John, "What ever happened to France's voice in Europe?" (Reuters, 24.4.2013).