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Klimke, Barbara

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Berliner Zeitung - Germany | 28/03/2008

A new defence policy for Europe?

Barbara Klimke analyses the reasons for Nicolas Sarkozy's "charm offensive" in the UK. "France depends on the alliance with the United Kingdom for the implementation of its strategic military plans. The old, tried and tested, highly institutionalised axis with Germany is indeed no longer sufficient, particularly since, following the Mediterranean Union dispute, relations with Germany are not at their best. Cooperation between two states may still be in keeping with the times when it comes to the construction of nuclear power stations, but global problems like climate change or terrorism can be solved neither at a national level nor bilaterally. Sarkozy ... therefore wants to break with a national taboo and strengthen his country's ties with NATO - a move which has been unthinkable since de Gaulle's times and which is highly controversial in France. In return for this Sarkozy will have to insist that the EU assumes a stronger role regarding future defence operations. This will no doubt require the use of stronger persuasion with the more eurosceptic Brit Gordon Brown than with German Chancellor Angela Merkel."

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