Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pas de Deux Miliband-Sarkozy

David Miliband, the British foreign secretary, has proposed beefing up Europe's conventional defense forces and suggested the possibility of bringing North Africa and the Middle East into the EU single market by 2030. The first proposal is in some respects a response to Sarkozy's hints that France is ready to contemplate a role in a joint European military structure. The second would seem to be a counter or challenge to Sarkozy's idea of a Mediterranean Union separate from the EU. It will be interesting to see the French response.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What we see here is another illustration of the very deep difference in the concept of Europe between Britain and most of the other EU countries.

For Britain, Europe must remain, above all, a free trade zone, with minimum political obligations and infrigements on the sovereignty of member nations. Such a loose free trade zone has no built-in limits and can very well extend into the Mediterranean and beyond. This conception also leaves Britain with a free hand to conduct an independent foreign policy of " special relationship" with the US.
See how Britain refused in the new treaty the term of Foreign Minister and imposed High Commissioner for the man in charge of EU foreign policy. The UK also struck down any official recognition of EU symbols such as flag or hymn.

For France, Germany and others, there is definitely a political content in the concept of Europe, with France going even further with its idea of "Europe puissance" in a multipolar world.

Therefore it is no surprise to see Britain, supported by some US political scholars, still pushing for a loose free trade zone vs. a political organization, in Europe and beyond.

This is the same coalition that opposed the idea of EU from the start.