Peter Hoskin

Entente cordiale

Entente cordiale
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With Nicolas Sarkozy set to meet Gordon Brown later today, it's well-worth reading Simon Heffer's article in the Telegraph. He characterises the meeting as one between two beleaguered premiers who are desperate to prop each other up. But the major claim is that Brown's “woken up” to his “errors over the Lisbon Treaty”, and is trying to tweak the diplomatic landscape accordingly. Here's the relevant passage:

“France in particular wants greater co-operation in defence and defence procurement. Britain is cautious, not because of any principled objections, but because Mr Brown has belatedly, and very privately, woken up enough to the extent of his errors over the Lisbon Treaty to realise the potency of Euro-scepticism in this country.

He is desperate that any advances made on the defence, or any other, front this week should be portrayed as an advance for the Anglo-French relationship, and not seen in the context of the European Union, even though France is keen to make a common European defence policy one of the main items on the agenda of its EU presidency later this year...

...His advisers have now, it seems, succeeded in making him realise how important it is that he should be interested in it: and the chasm between France and Germany caused by Mr Sarkozy's own anti-German feelings provides a marvellous opportunity for a new alliance, or at least a new axis, in European affairs both inside and outside the context of the EU.”