Open Europe Blog

Last week, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney suffered a number of gaffes on his visit to London, including publicly questioning whether London would be able to cope with the pressure of hosting the Olympics, prompting a choice riposte from David Cameron.

Meanwhile, in town to watch French swimming team clean up, French President Francois Hollande also had a few choice words for the host nation. While praising the organisation of the games, Hollande couldn’t resist bringing up the ‘empty seats controversy’ – primarily a problem of the IOC than of LOCOG – arguing that:

“I’m not here to be a killjoy or to give lessons to the British. It’s not worthy of France [but] the problem is that there are simply too many corporate seats. It will be up to French organisers to sort out this problem if a bid for a future games is to be successful”. 

Then, in a light-hearted dig at Cameron’s recent vow to roll out the red carpet for French tax exiles, Hollande added that:

“The British have rolled out a red carpet for French athletes to win medals. I thank them very much for that, but the competition is not over.” 

However, Hollande wasn’t done yet, teasing his hosts’ comparative lack of success so far on the medals front and their attitudes towards Europe, commenting that:

“We will put the French medals into the Europe pot, so that the British will be happy to be European.”

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