by Jerome a Paris
Sat Nov 4th, 2006 at 10:49:41 AM EST
A few random tidbits (all translations mine):
On the UK in Europe
First, I thought that alongside the Franco-German axis, I should look more to London. With time, that idea withered away. Not that I became an opponent of UK participation in Europe, but it clearly appeared to me that the relationship the British have with Europe does not make it possible for them to lead European integration like Franco-German cooperation does.
It appeared to me that there is a tendency in the UK to blame the EU for internal problems.
Beginnings have been tough because Jacques Chirac is a man who knows how to take advantage of beginners' lack of experience to push his politics. That's undisputable. He is a great European, but also very, very French. The position of France is extremely important to him
On European diplomacy
Because of its history, Germany has, after WWII, seen its foreign policy as integreated in a European policy. For France, the European dimension is a way to affirm its identity and its role in the world. But when onesays Europe in France, one always thinks Germany, and there has been a de facto rapprochement between the policies of both countries.
I note that beyond the transatlantic friendship, there are divergent interests, for instance on trade policy. Thus I plead for Europe to get stronger against competition. The more Europe is united, the more effective it will be. Compared to the USA, we are all medium sized countries. My idea is thus: France and Germany must form the core of an integrated Europe and build a strategic relationship with Russia.
About the Economist's suggestion that France "needs a Thatcher"
The Anglo-Saxon media thinks that one can and one must shape continental Europe in the image of the USA and the UK. It's a mistake. Things are just too different. The same people, in the 90s, gave advice to Russia. Results have not been such that we should absolutely do the same thing in France.