October 20th, 2011
04:09 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – Where do you draw the line between your professional and working life? It is the eternal unanswered question for ambitious people, but it was tested to its limits yesterday in Paris – a case study par excellence.

Just to put this in context: the world economy isn’t quite on its knees, but it’s heading that way. A collapse in the world economy would cause untold damage to millions of people, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable.

What could tip the balance is a collapse of the eurozone, something world leaders are working to prevent. There are two people who matter more than most in these discussions and they are the leaders of France and Germany– the two most powerful eurozone economies and its main political backers.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel need to work out a plan to save the euro this week, ahead of a crucial meeting at the weekend of European leaders. It was clearly crunch time yesterday because they called a last minute face-to-face to work out their differences. This was nothing less than a meeting to save the world (economy).

Of course, any self-respecting professional would recognise the importance of saving the world and you would naturally throw yourself in. But what if you had a personal issue you also needed to address? Well it of course depends of the gravity of the issue we are talking about. If it were a dinner with friends, then cancelling would be acceptable. If it were your child’s graduation, it is starting to get tricky. But what if it were your child’s birth?

Bring in Sarkozy. His wife, Carla Bruni, was in hospital, clearly about to give birth. But Merkel was waiting in Frankfurt for a crucial meeting to save the world. Wife? Merkel? Child’s birth? Merkel. Sarkozy? He went for Merkel, and missed the birth (it was a girl).

We do not know Bruni’s view on this, nor Sarkozy’s, nor Merkel’s. But I know that there was a fierce debate in the newsroom about where to draw the professional line off the back of Sarkozy’s decision to leave his wife in hospital. Where do you think you should draw the professional line? Is there one at all?

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soundoff (35 Responses)

    The idea of a common currency is clearly not working. SOLUTION : Get rid of the idea.

    October 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  2. Ed Peterson

    numerology for Dahlia Bruni-Sarkozy:


    October 20, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  3. Rooney

    For god sake Foster, why you need article like this? Do you have a idea how much French lost theres jobs in the time of the Sarkozy presidency and his relationship with Bruni? More than double from the time of the Chirac presidency. Few days before Sarkozy occupied office, France had under 2 millions of the unemployed, today that number is more than 4,4 million, and you are writting about Carla's feellings and Sarkozy love life?

    October 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  4. Pifpaf

    Get rid of the child that can save the economy (no just kidding). Hope that with a new child at Palais de L'elysee. Sarkozy will wiser...

    October 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  5. Uday Bhaskar

    I do not see any big decision involved here. Even for normal people, job will always be a priority when it is crunch time, than being at the child delivery when you know you can anyhow kiss the baby after coming back from work. I am really wondering how you can compare saving world economy with personal life. Too bad a queston to ask.

    October 20, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  6. R

    I sincerely think that the best probability in the sarkozy new born baby would be that Madame Bruni decided to have their own experience and push forward his husband political career and responsibilities. However, it was not his first child and the appointment wouldn,t be obviously changed.

    October 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  7. thomas

    French hates sarko, i don't want to see his face and his new child, as rooney said france have big troubles, but no matter for him... sometimes, i think that now french knows what happen in the USA with G.W bush

    our economy is in bad position since a long time, and now it's worst, our debt with him had increased by 500 billion for nothing in 4 year, now we are in war in libya, in afganistan...

    medias don't do his job, every day, we discover new legal case, france is sad now, only bad news every day. less liberties, racism... only sad things,

    in 2012, we will not have a great choice too, so i can stay !!!!! arfffffffffffffffffffff

    sorry for mistakes, i did my best with english

    October 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  8. Flower

    Its nothing unsual, President went for his business and work. I can imagine how social media would be furios, if he went to hospital and not to meeting.

    October 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  9. K

    this decision is one that is made well before the cruntch...you run for office you accept a whole different set of priorities.

    October 20, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
  10. Sensi

    @ Rooney

    Nice invented numbers lol, FYI unemployement was of 9,1 % during the first semester and concerned 2,6 millions people... Time to send back your propaganda to its trash.


    October 20, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  11. ema

    Considering what Sarkozy has achieved..or rather not achieved as the President of France he could have stayed in Paris!

    October 20, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  12. thomas

    @ sensi

    not at all !

    numbers can tell a thing, but it can be a lie too... if you create laws, which can help you ^^
    with sarko, a jobless people is easily eject of the help system for different reason... so less jobless people, good stat ^^
    if you dont accept offers for example, BUT this offers are weak, and not your ability, in my case, i have seen that...
    since 3 month i do not work, i left my job, (i do not like my boss, not a good people) i do not ask nothing to "pole emploi" because i dont want nothing from this people, they are now a cop before people who should help you, there is no job, only "chinese" job to offer, by "chinese" work, a lot of work, for the smallest pay LOL, there is one good opportunity for 1000...

    and companies don't ask to "pole emploi" too... only hunters, who like young peoples who have money trouble, so they accept because like everybody they need money

    for example in my city Toulouse, 4th biggest french city, it's like 15 new ads by day, for a city (and others around) who have maybe 600 000 people who live there

    it's a joke ?

    so thanks sarko 1th, our french king, la guillotine t'attend mon pote...

    October 21, 2011 at 12:43 am |
  13. thomas

    of course, in the 15 offers, part time job, 2 month job... bla bla bla....

    as i said, i work in accountancy,so i know what i say, and how works a company, and calculation

    in france, working i'ts like begging, if your are not lawyer, doctor, engineer....

    October 21, 2011 at 12:50 am |
  14. balazs

    @uday bashkar

    Your comment brings up an important cultural point mainly for the US reader: having a child in the family can be a whole different experience for the father and the other members from the traditional Hollywood-projected image. In some cultures, men (fathers included) are not expected to be present at birth, or rather they are not even welcome until after the baby is washed, dressed and fed. I am not saying France is like that, but their would-be fathers do tend to want to wait OUTSIDE the nursery/delivery room.. :)

    October 21, 2011 at 12:59 am |
  15. Terra

    As a president of any country, upon taking an oath you need to realize that there is no such thing as balancing life and work. You are serving millions of people or even billions and your decisions affect many lives. It should be 80% work and just 20% relaxation it can never be 50-50. 100% work is unhealthy as it could lead to burn out, stress and eventually poor decision making. Bachelor presidents should never have a love life in offce. Service should be given hundred percent to the people.

    October 21, 2011 at 4:57 am |
  16. David

    @balazs where did you get that idea that fathers aren't present at delivery in France? that's not my experience at all (I've been there a few times, having 4 kids). Your view of France is quite a bit behind, like, a century or so? :)

    October 21, 2011 at 6:26 am |
  17. Moses Onyango

    A meeting can be postponed but giving birth cannot be postponed or repeated. Sarkozy was wrong to have dashed to a meeting, which could have been postponed or held a little later. In the process, Sarkozy missed the most important part of family life-the birth of his daughter!

    October 21, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  18. chris

    hey what a silly question, creating hype for nothing. what can he do in hospital besides holding hands? give birth is carla's job, saving the euro is angela's and nicolas' job. it's no desaster to get to the hodpital a few hours afterwards. i live in asia, and this is a very good example why the asian economies are doing much better than western economies.

    October 21, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  19. Georgia

    I wonder why Mr Sarkozy rushed to meet with Angela, instead of going straight to the hospital. All us European citizens are sick of watching those two "leaders" holding endless meetings over saving the Eurozone. It's obvious they have been ineffective for such a long time, why don't they just stay home and let things evolve? Whatever will be, will be Mr Sarkozi. It's obvious that all you bigshot European leaders do nothing but meet every other day, just to agree that "Europe is in crisis". Thank your for your indecisiveness and incompetence. Thank you for degenarating Europe!

    October 21, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  20. david

    Silly question....you don't get to be the president of France unless you sacrifice family time. For a decision like this.....well it wasn't actually a decision....so glad he did the only thing....

    October 23, 2011 at 2:32 am |
  21. david

    Um....newroom banter is news now?

    October 23, 2011 at 2:33 am |
  22. babo

    gee do you think he could have done both? if the meeting were delayed Hours (not days) would angela been upset? would the world economy collapsed during the 12 hour delay? lets be real. giving birth can be life or death. it is as important as a major operation and should have been given the time and attention that it needed.

    October 23, 2011 at 2:57 am |
  23. Bammbammnz

    War Criminal!!!!!!

    October 23, 2011 at 5:26 am |
  24. Shelley

    This is news how? Really, CNN, can you do no better than this?

    October 23, 2011 at 6:17 am |
  25. Fermin

    Give these people a break. For sure, the three of them talked about the situation as it was about to happen and made a mature, professional decision that was–for all their intents and purposes–for the best as far as they know. Carla sacrificed. Nicolas sacrificed. Angela will need to consider their sacrifices and make the meeting a little more worth the Sarkozy's sacrifice.

    October 23, 2011 at 6:47 am |
  26. tom

    Real hard times are here for most of the worlds population but hey dont worry your leaders will be well fed have nice holidays be warm in the winter there children will wont for nothing so stop worrying about them all there going to be alright and if everything does collapse you can rest assured they will be well cared for ,afterall ask yourself would the world survive without them.................

    October 23, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  27. Jim

    Why didn't Merkel come to Paris? That would be easy enough to do. They could have had their meetings to save the world in the hospital's smoking lounge!

    October 23, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  28. Vincent Gwarazimba

    Well while the family is nomally first, in this case the nation, europe and the world economy had to come first. Nothing wrong with that. Lets not raise a stench out of nothing. Nic loves his wife. Its just his work that complicates matters.

    October 23, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  29. RomanianClown

    He is a Romanian Clown.
    So short.

    October 23, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  30. MyDarlin

    This is hardly a newsworthy subject! It is clearly a personal choice between the couple and who is to say what the right choice is? Many military have NO choice as they serve their countries far from home. I'm sure there are more important stories to write!

    October 23, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  31. joan

    European leaders are already on this matter for many months.
    I don't think Sarko was this time absolutely irreplaceable
    just for some hours.
    But probably he choosed to be at work to avoid critics and
    unpopularity. This is the political aspect he couldn't miss.
    Sarko's photo at the clinic with the baby, in the middle of
    this crisis, would be the end of his career.
    For him it was a sacrifice.

    October 24, 2011 at 12:08 am |
  32. Pat

    What kind of ridicules newsa are this? He is a rich powerful man he has choices this is his seccond wife who cares about his life? Is this important for the ordinary person who dose not have a job and a palce to live?

    October 24, 2011 at 12:41 am |
  33. pab

    Rooney is right. This isn't news. What good can come of an article like this?

    October 24, 2011 at 3:35 am |
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