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Soon-to-be President Trump, the best ally for France's European policy

17 janvier, 2017
New Brief
Hajnalka Vincze

NATO "obsolete", the Brexit "a success"? The bluntly expressed views of the U.S. president-elect[1] are the best thing that has happened to France’s European policy[2] over the past quarter of a century.

Answering to a question in the National Assembly on the appropriate reaction to recent statements from D. Trump, the French Prime Minister clearly would not miss the opportunity. "This means that we need a European defense, with European means, European investment and European force projection capability, which will make the European Union, and the peoples and nations that compose it, independent – because it is only by being independent in its relation to great powers that Europe can assert its principles, values ​​and identity, and pursue a balanced dialogue with friendly nations." [3] In short: it is time for emancipation. Which is, incidentally, the only way to achieve an equal and respected partner status.

The opportunity emerged the last time 25 years ago, when the end of the Cold War would have allowed Europeans to take their own destiny in their hands, but it was without counting with NATO and the United States... As a French Minister of Defense noted in the late 1990s: the Atlantic Alliance "has occupied a field that we might have been able to fill in differently, with institutional constructions that are more specifically European and perhaps more open towards the East."[4] At the time, that did not happen. Today, in the first place thanks to the next U.S. president, all the ingredients are there to force Europeans on this path, by overcoming their multiple blockages.


[1] Full transcript of interview with Donald Trump, The Times, 16 janvier 2017. Trump s’adresse aux Européens dans un entretien iconoclaste à « Bild » et « The Times », Le Monde, January 16, 2017.

[2] From the author: La France, quelle gardien du temple pour l’Europe de la défense ?, in Slippery Slope: the Re-Atlanticization of European Defense, The Federalist Year LV, 2013.

[3] Propos du Premier ministre Bernard Cazeneuve. Questions au gouvernement, National Assembly, Second sitting of Tuesday, January 17, 2017.

[4] Speech of the Minister of Defense Alain Richard at the annual conference of the Institut des Relations Internationales Stratégiques (IRIS), May 4, 1999.

[5] From the author: Les points de blocage lancinants de l’Europe de la défense, Note d’analyse IVERIS, December 14, 2016.



france, défense européenne

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