Kohl set to bring Paris into trade fold
Wednesday 01 December 1993
The subject of Gatt dominates the agenda of the Franco-German summit, which concludes today. The French, worried about the effect of the Gatt agreement on the livelihoods of French farmers, have been reluctant to put their names to the Gatt deal, due to be finalised by 15 December, quoting 'European interests', and complaining of an 'American offensive'.
At a meeting last week between John Major and Mr Kohl, both leaders expressed optimism that the agreement would duly be signed, and warned of the catastrophic consequences if the deal were to fall through. Paris, too, has begun to sound more conciliatory in recent days.
Britain and other European countries look to Germany as the nation which can most successfully cajole France into the free-trade fold. When Mr Balladur was in Bonn in August, Mr Kohl's apparent words of support for the French at that time - he said that he had 'enormous problems' with the agricultural part of the Gatt agreement - caused triumphalism in Paris and dismay elsewhere.
But, in the following weeks, Mr Kohl played down any suggestion that he was prepared to stand alongside the French on the protectionist barricades. Officials emphasised that, despite all the sympathy in Bonn for the French position, Germany's heart still belongs to Gatt. The Chancellor's words of support were said to be have been intended only as a 'gesture' towards Mr Balladur - an attempt, in effect, to sweeten the poison pill of free trade. Bonn soothingly points out that France, as a major exporter, in any case stands to gain as much as it stands to lose.
Following the currency crisis in the summer, there was much talk of an impending break-up of the 'Franco-German marriage'. Defenders of the relationship argued, however, that the marital rows are an occasional, passing phenomenon, and should not be taken as a sign that the divorce lawyers are about to be called in.
Certainly, the Elysee Treaty, on close co-operation between Germany and France, at war with each other twice this century, is still a cornerstone of Bonn's foreign policy. Though Britain would sometimes like to believe differently, the continental 'special relationship' seems unlikely to fade away.
On Tuesday the Social Democrat opposition leader, Rudolf Scharping, met Mr Mitterrand and Mr Balladur in Paris. He, too, emphasised the importance of the Franco- German relationship.
Other topics during the talks in Bonn include the preparations for next week's European Union summit in Brussels, and for the Nato summit in January.
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
David Cameron explains selfie with Obama and Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Mandela Memorial
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Krokodil in Mexico? Teenager hospitalised after 'injecting drug into her genitals'
Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 John McAfee's $100 'anti-NSA' device: 'this is coming and cannot be stopped'
- 3 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories
- 5 Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
£77099.84 - £96375.26 per annum + Bonus + Benefits : Harrington Starr: My clie...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus and Package: Harrington Starr: Trading appli...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Developer (Win...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Senior QA Engineer Tes...