Monday, November 20, 2006

Will Britain bite the dust?

The Telegraph has a new article based on an interview with Segolene Royal's foreign affairs advisor. According to him, she will advocate a strong new EU treaty despite the French rejection of the last one. Royal is also willing to sign accords with just a core of EU members, ignoring the newer members and "Atlanticist" members like Britiain:
He set out a vision of an ambitious new EU treaty, replacing the EU constitution which has been in limbo since French and Dutch voters voted against it last summer.

Britain would be asked to sign up to the new treaty, but if it rejected calls for increased protectionism, an EU foreign minister, convergence on tax rates and moves to create a European army, then France and her allies would agree a treaty among themselves, he said...

Although Miss Royal "does not want a two-speed Europe," Mr Savary said, he admitted her plans could lead to a "quartet" of nations leading the way, with others scrambling to catch up. He complained that Britain currently led an "ultra-Atlanticist" bloc within the EU....

He demanded efforts to integrate foreign policy and cast that struggle in searingly anti-American tones. Mr Savary said: "The question that needs to be asked is – do we want to be vassals of the United States, do we want to be a 51st state?"

Miss Royal's vision was for a new treaty that would address citizens' demands for more protectionism in the face of competition from globalisation. "She believes, like all the French, that Europe should be more protective and should defend itself better," Mr Savary said.

What is so ironic about this is that the French are constantly promoting European integration in order to "balance" American power, but the US would like nothing more than to see a strong EU. Diplomats in Washington would far rather deal with one strong Western partner than a multitude of squabbling nations who each want to have their own say. Not that France is a squabbling nation, but it does help to speak with one voice, especially at the negotiating table.

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