Daniel Korski

Post-election Entene Cordiale?

Post-election Entene Cordiale?
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If there is a strategic thought lurking inside the Tories' grab bag of foreign policy ideas, it seems to be closer cooperation with France, particularly on defence matters.

Should William Hague become Foreign Secretary after the election, he might end up working with a new French counterpart, as rumours persist about Bernard Kouchner's imminent departure (knowing this, he apparently even floated his own name for the Kabul UN job). A new Parisian counterpart for Hague - for example, the current French Agriculture Minister, Bruno Le Marie - could make a new Entente Cordiale easier.

But, even then, would the French be up for closer links with the UK? Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have just unveiled a new 10-year plan, including 80 projects designed to improve Franco-German cooperation. The "Franco-German Agenda 2020" outlines plans for everything from joint ministerial sessions, to combined political and economic policy-making, education initiatives, language learning programs, and even simplified Franco-German marriage regulations.

As President Sarkozy said at a joint press conference with Angela Merkel: "without us, nothing can work ... We just want to ensure that a politically strong Europe exists. And for that, Germany and France must cooperate."

That does not sound like an invitation to greater cross-Channel cooperation.