Leading Article: Europe declines to take to Mickey

Share
Related Topics
OH, TO BE a French intellectual in these days of decline for Euro Disney. Presented at the very gates of Paris with a target for cultural disdain unparalleled since the invasion of McDonald's, they will arch their eyebrows and deliver their subjunctives over a thousand ashtrays filled with Gitane stubs. For the Disney theme park transplanted to the verdant territory of Marne la Vallee, an affront to the unquiet spirits of Americophobe intellectuals and of painters who captured the local landscape, is in such deep trouble that it may close without the intervention of the banks or other investors. If it is not the 'cultural Chernobyl' of which one critic spoke, it certainly looks like financial meltdown.

Euro Disney's shareholders have been warned by the auditors that it would be unable to continue unless it could draw on new support from the international banks. The company lost about pounds 600m in the year to 30 September and is burdened with debts of some pounds 2.5bn. The Walt Disney Company of the United States has undertaken to keep financing the park, which is only 20 months old, until the spring. But if it decides to cut its losses and withdraw, the blow would be serious. There are some rays of light - discounts have lured tourists to Euro Disney's five hotels, the Christmas season has generated larger crowds, and tourist companies are confidently preparing brochures for next summer's influx. But the Walt Disney Company and the banks are wrangling over debts and liquidity. It all looks more like a ghastly caricature than a cheerful cartoon.

Is this not, then, vindication for those who would proudly uphold France's unique gifts to civilisation against the onrushing hordes of the fast-food industry, the purveyors of Madonna movies and the Anglo-Saxon conspirators of the Gatt? Is this not sweet proof that the French could remain impervious to a place populated by American fantasy creations, which declined, initially, to serve wine, and which could be seen as a classic example of cultural imperialism imposed by foreign finance?

Alas, it is not. Who are the faceless bankers so blithely profligate with their depositors' money, so woeful now in the face of reality? Well, most of the 60 syndicate banks and nearly 200,000 investors are of the same proud Gallic stock as those intellectuals who so reviled it.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Job opportunity for a nursery nurse...

McAfee Security Engineer

£42000 - £48000 per annum + Site allowance: Ashdown Group: McAfee EPO Speciali...

English Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Experience...

Higher Level Teaching Assistants in Bradford and West Leeds

£65 - £75 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We are currently seeking Higher L...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Scottish polls, the clown who saved Iceland and all about oil

John Rentoul
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories