FOCUS – september 2010

FOCUS end september early October 2010

While we think the speech of Newt Gingrich given in American Enterprise Institute is well worth readers’ attention, we have now a nice way for geoplitical balance by having this time our “focus” on France.

We had occasion to visited the annual Convention a French political party stressing the need to keep national sovereignty well protected in France (and by implication also for other European countries. The RIF Rassemblement Independence pour la France, goes now so far as to plead for exiuting France from the European Union, the Schengen treaties, and also NATO and WTO.

Well, this is at leat clear marketing in the political spectrum.

This is not the place to judge their positions. The fact however that such vows are expressed is important. French unhappiness with Brussels could well coalesce with German unhappiness in the management of the EURO, and Netherlands unhappiness with EU’ weakness on Turkey and on defence against radical Islam (Obviously those are distinct problems, but again, we may see coalescence). In the Netherlands there is – as expected for a trading nation – still important remaing support for the EU and the euro (see           ………………)                                    =  continue on the next page =

.  RIF’’s president Paul Marie Couteaux  ( ) pointed to great shifts which he expects to see (and to cause) in the French political landscape.

He sees the reigning UMP party and also Front National  disintegrating and he would then be happy to receive like-minded patriots in a broad party. That would greatly redistribute  political power in France, with increased forces critcial to the EU, and even wishing to quit the EU.

Could such changes happen also in other European countries like Germany or the Netherlands? As mentioned before the Dutch open-sea trading nation is more globally interested than France and may be less wary of the EU. Germany is unhappy with our euromanagement. If a movement away from the EU  should gain momentum in some countries, that would greatly undercut and might then end the accession negotiations with Turkey, and that again may make the EU more acceptable to Holland. The Turkish candidature was an important element in the Dutch “NO” to the constitution.

The way how European Commissioners (…Mrs Reding)  and the European Parliament deal with a member country like France on the question of the “Roms” –gypsies- is causing further unhappiness.

Her ideas on imposing quota for women in business boardrooms may a also a sign of growing Commission arrogance

Let us also see how under  Baroness Ashton’s guidance the new  EU “ambassadors” deal with present bilateral ambassadors when they arrive in their post.

Will they have enough courtesy and patience for what still are the Ambassadors of sovereign European nations ? I had in a place like Beijing already sometimes moments of doubt.

Brussel’s centralizing and power expansion, both in Commission and Parliament, are sometimes going too far. In stead of making the EU ambassadors into the local  EU “super ambassador”, a more modest proposal for closer cooperation of the embassies in Beijing could be followed (see my “Europe’’s “Rayonnement” ”).

Even Monsieur Jean-Claude Trichet of the European Central Bank was behaving like a schoolmaster against Slovakia (see Dalibor Rohac in EUobserver 10 september) because that nation refuses to participate in the Greek bailout. M Trichet feels that  Slovakia was setting a bad example. If there is a risk that future euro applicants might “do something like that” in the future, the ECB would not support their accession. This talking down to sovereign nations will not be taken easily henceforth.

Less  ”imperial” attitudes in Bruxelles (internally, namely over its member nations) and in Washington (externally, namely with respect to its NATO allies) may help achieve better integration of true European interests  – ” l’Europe reelle”  – and of the two sides of the Atlantic together.

What in the  RIF’s convention was also highly appreciated was a well-done commemoration of General Pierre-Marie Gallois,  one of RIF’s founding supporters, the “father” or “uncle” of the French nuclear power, and a great French personality.

I too, in another context, – the Yugoslav conflict -,  was privileged to have a working relationship with General Gallois (together with others like Dr Zarko Papic, Prof Ivan Djuric, Faik Dizdarevic, Serdjan Kerim) and to appreciate him also as a very courteous and entertaining guest.  Un grand ’homme.



About dutasia

Former Ambassador of the Netherlands, presently National Commissioner for Thailand and for Indonesia in the ICC, the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Business Organization. Chairman of China Carbon Forum in Beijing, China.
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