The cut list is now out for the several European countries who are the latest to get the downgrade treatment from Standard & Poors and France and Austria are just the latest to get knocked from a AAA down to a AA+ credit rating. By now, it feels like every Western power, including the United States, has been slapped with a downgrade from either S&P, Moody's, Fitch or all three, so it's becoming pretty interesting to see which economies are weathering the storm of bad financial news. It's like watching Survivor, but instead of fame, bragging rights and a cash prize, the fate of European economy is at stake. However, because of the downgrade pile-on, it sounds like national leaders don't even care any more. "It is not good news … but it is not a catastrophe," said François Baroin, France's finance minister. "It is not the ratings agencies that dictate the policies of France."
The French people, on the other had, did think it was kind of a big deal. Left-wing activists (pictured above) have been protesting the imminent downgrade and the credit ratings agencies themselves for weeks; it seems like the Sarkozy administration will suffer some political damage at the very least now that the downgrade is official. That said, now that only four of the Euro zone's economies -- Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Luxembourg -- still have their sterling AAA rating, it appears that the catastrophe that would be the implosion of the euro currency has still not been averted. Downgraded credit rating aside, both France and Austria are great for skiing this time of year.