Major greets new ally in EU
THE FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Tuesday 09 May 1995
Mr Major believes that Mr Chirac and his government will bring a more sceptical, British flavour to French policy in Europe compared to his predecessor, Franois Mitterrand. ''I have enjoyed working with President Mitterrand; we have occasionally had our differences ... But I think there are many ways in which Jacques Chirac and I will see Europe in the same way," Mr Major told French television yesterday.
The timing of the election has a particular historical ring to it. The European Union celebrates Europe Day today, commemorating the day in 1950 when the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, launched the project of European integration at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris. But there is no guarantee that the France of Mr Chirac will have the same fervour for the European project.
The new President has blown hot and cold on Europe, sometimes wrapping himself in nationalism, at others emphasising the importance of Europe and his country's role in it.
But there is also a deeper doubt about what Mr Chirac himself believes. He will undoubtedly change in office, EU officials said yesterday, pointing to the transformation in Mr Mitterrand'sviews. The commitment to Europe, since Mr Schuman's great initiative, has been the heart and soul of France's foreign policy. But they also cautioned that France has grown more sceptical about Europe, and Mr Chirac will reflect that.
Mr Chirac received warm greetings from every European capital yesterday, none warmer than from London. "From our side of the Channel, we look forward to working closely with you and your team in all those many areas where our interests coincide," said Mr Major.
Britain has already forged closer defence ties with France, and hopes Mr Chirac will promote these. British officials believe he will oppose giving more power to the European Parliament, and will resist dropping the national veto, another key British demand.
"The actions of France have always been a deciding factor in the construction of Europe," said the EU Commission President, Jacques Santer.
The key factor will be Mr Chirac's relationship with Germany, always the driving force in Europe. Bonn was effusive about Mr Chirac, with Klaus Kinkel, the Foreign Minister, saying: "Both countries know that they are dependent on one another; we know that we are each other's most important partner."
Mr Chirac has talked about trying to weld Britain more closely into the Franco-German relationship, an ideal that Mr Major once hoped would come about by means of closer ties with Bonn but which has not materialised. Most diplomats expect the relationship to be more balanced than it was at the low point of British influence.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 1 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 2 Orange Is The New Black has not been cancelled – it was a hoax
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 5 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Pope Francis: ‘One in 50’ Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals is a paedophile
Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations
Supermoon 2014 in pictures: Moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Saharan remains may be evidence of first race war, 13,000 years ago
Israel-Gaza conflict: ‘Sderot cinema’ image shows Israelis with popcorn and chairs 'cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets'
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Emergency data law: David Cameron plots to bring back snoopers’ charter
NUT strike: David Cameron announces crackdown on strike action ahead of mass industrial action
£25000 - £35000 per annum + bonus + bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: IT Sy...
£45000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: Charter Selection are working wi...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Central...
£42000 - £45000 per annum + 10% bonus: Ashdown Group: Regional Marketing Manag...