Strain on presidency at home and abroad
The EU, joined yesterday by Sweden, Finland and Austria, will not get F rance's undivided attention, says Richard Dowden
Monday 02 January 1995
The first drawback is the French presidential election at the end of April and the beginning of May. The second is the integration of three new member states - Austria, Sweden and Finland - and the third is the arrival later this month of Jacques Santer,the new Commissioner who is expected to take over from Jacques Delors later this month.
All these factors will prevent France giving the strong lead that one might expect from one of the founders and strongest members of the Union. All this comes at a time when many in Europe, including France, are questioning the assumption that Europe will become inevitably more integrated. Not helped by the fact that Mr Juppe is backing Jacques Chirac, the rival of his Prime Minister, Edouard Balladur, in the presidential race, French politics will inevitably be more concerned with domestic issues than matters of European concern in coming months.
The new president and his government will barely have time to look in their in-trays before France must give a report on its presidency at the EU summit in Cannes at the end of June and hand over the baton to Spain which holds the presidency for the second half of the year.
In London recently, Mr Juppe spelt out his list of priorities for Europe. Economic growth and employment headed the list, followed by security, relations with countries bordering the Mediterranean, the protection and spread of European culture, preparations for the 1996 intergovernmental conference, and review of the European institutions. Although agreements about decision-making in a 15 member EU, the role of the Commission, monetary union and other fundamentals will not be taken until the 1996 meetin g, the broad decisions will have to be taken by the end of this year.
One of the pressing questions is whether the EU will expand to include some East European countries like Poland, Hungary, and the Czech and Slovak republics.
It is unlikely that substantial progress will be made until the second half of the year. In the meantime, France and Spain will point out that the arguments about security, and the need for prosperous and stable neighbours, applies as much to north Africa as it does to eastern Europe. France is more affected by civil war in Algeria than any other European state. It will be keen, therefore, to develop naval cooperation with Italy and Spain.
- 1 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
David Haines remembered: Death of British hostage executed by Isis lamented from the Balkans to Sudan
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Piers Morgan attempts to save the Union by promising to go back to the US if Scotland votes 'No' to independence
Jennifer Lawrence to make public appearance after nude photo leaks as Met Gala Ball 2015 co-host
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence: Britain faces 'constitutional crisis' at next election
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Experience...
£65 - £75 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We are currently seeking Higher L...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Job opportunity for an Early years ...
£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...