This week the French national assembly voted to ban domestic flights on routes that could be travelled via train in under two and a half hours. The new rule, which is the result of a French citizens’ climate convention established by Emmanuel Macron in response to the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement, will capture 12% of French domestic flights. Though it’s more moderate than the convention’s initial proposal, which sought to ban all domestic flights on routes with rail alternatives of less than four hours, this is the first time any major economy has prohibited domestic air travel for environmental reasons.… Seguir leyendo »
All European countries – many of them NATO allies – see European and Euro-Atlantic security as the top strategic priority, though the ‘threat perception’ of central and eastern Europe tends to focus on Russia, and southern Europe on the Mediterranean and southern neighbourhood.
But Europe’s attention is now also increasingly turning to Asian security as developments in that region – above all, the rise of China – begin to heavily impact European interests. Even NATO is assessing links between Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific security. But the resources Europeans can devote to Asian security are limited. If they are to play an increasing role in Asian security – given the wide range of challenges in that region – it is time to think in a more structured way about how it can be done.… Seguir leyendo »
With the clock ticking and 29 March 2019 approaching ever closer, Brexit negotiations are entering their final, frantic stage. While the EU27 and Britain continue to disagree over the backstop in Northern Ireland, political disagreement within the UK has become the status quo. Amid all this, a crucial alliance at the heart of Europe is coming under increasing pressure.
The Franco-British alliance on defence and security has never been so valuable, as the threats we face are getting stronger: Islamist-inspired terrorism, Russia’s destabilising actions, state fragility in North Africa and the Middle East. All of this at a time when a new US foreign policy is heralding a world in which Europe will have to rely more on its own forces to defend itself.… Seguir leyendo »
Depuis l’introduction des systèmes de protection sociale modernes, au XIXe siècle, aucun gouvernement en Europe n’a vraiment essayé d’éradiquer la pauvreté, malgré les promesses de tel ou tel ministre. C’est la raison pour laquelle tous les systèmes cherchent d’abord à dépenser le moins possible, à simplifier les dispositifs pour faire des économies.
En outre, ils tablent, depuis le début des années 1990, sur le fait que l’emploi (le travail) peut régler la question de la pauvreté. C’est ce qu’on appelle dans le jargon « activer les pauvres ». Le gouvernement français, qui a annoncé, en amont de la présentation de son plan d’action contre « les inégalités de destin », envisager un « versement unique » et vouloir « donner la priorité au travail », devrait analyser le fiasco de la réforme dans un pays orfèvre en la matière, le Royaume-Uni.… Seguir leyendo »
Si Theresa May est venue rendre visite à notre président en vacances pour vendre sa vision de la future relation entre l’Union européenne (UE) et le Royaume-Uni, c’est que l’enjeu est de taille. Même bien imparfaite, la proposition publiée par le gouvernement britannique dans son white paper (livre blanc) d’il y a trois semaines est une première et représente une étape importante. La balle du ping-pong brexitien est sans doute pour la première fois dans le camp de l’UE.
Au sein de l’UE à 27, nous sommes confrontés à un choix simple et stratégique de la plus haute importance : voulons-nous, ou pas, une relation étroite et amicale avec le Royaume-Uni ?… Seguir leyendo »
In the last year there have been four touchstone elections in the West: two in Britain, one in the U.S., one in France. Two of these were disasters, one was nearly so, and one was a huge relief. None went according to script.
Maybe that’s because we have lousy pollsters and lackluster mainstream politicians. There’s also the matter of reckless voters.
As of Friday, it seemed that Theresa May would cobble together a coalition government — just barely — with a small northern Irish party, which should keep her in office for a while longer. In every other sense she’s a humiliated politician, who squandered a huge lead in a lousy campaign against a vile opponent.… Seguir leyendo »
Antes de ser demolido a finales de octubre, el inmenso campamento de migrantes en Calais se había convertido en un símbolo de la vergüenza de Europa, un recordatorio visible del fracaso de la Unión Europea para encontrar un enfoque humano, justo y coordinado a la migración.
Sin embargo, Francia, el Reino Unido y la Unión Europea (UE) todavía no han abordado las deficiencias sistemáticas en el marco europeo de asilo y las formas divergentes en que cada país lo aplica, incluso con respecto a los niños no acompañados. Puede que haya desaparecido el símbolo, pero la vergüenza permanece.
El momento y la manera en que se desmanteló el campamento de Calais parecen haber sido impulsados en gran medida por el deseo de Francia de presionar a Gran Bretaña para que acogiera, en el corto plazo, al mayor número posible de niños no acompañados.… Seguir leyendo »
Having spent most of the last two weeks in Calais, I can say that while the operation to clear the French migrant camp known as "The Jungle" may ultimately benefit adults, it has failed unaccompanied children.
On Wednesday, police evacuated all remaining residents to the edge of the camp. Several hours later, the local prefecture announced it would be accepting no further registration for relocation of adults or unaccompanied children.
The decision left hundreds of children and adults in limbo.
Between 1,300 and 1,600 unaccompanied children -- most from Afghanistan, Sudan and Eritrea -- had been taking shelter in the camp, including hundreds who were eligible for transfer to the UK based on family ties.… Seguir leyendo »
French authorities have begun the process of demolishing the migrant camp known as the Calais Jungle, and it is clear that the final few hours of this center are going to be just as big a disgrace as its previous existence.
I visited the Jungle earlier this month, just after President François Hollande had said that the camp would be closed down.
In light of this announcement, you might have expected that there would be official information points for the migrants, telling them about the alternative accommodation that the French authorities said they would provide, what they needed to do in order to be moved there, and encouraging them to leave straight away.… Seguir leyendo »
The dismantling of the Calais refugee camp brings a sense of deja vu for those of us who followed the eviction of the Idomeni camp on the Greece-Macedonia border in May. The streams of buses; the heavy machinery waiting to destroy the tents and shacks; the queues of bewildered people with their lives in bundles at their feet; the riot police standing by.
For the refugees there’s the terrible uncertainty about what happens next, the fear of being deported, taken into detention, separated from the small community they’ve made. And there’s the anxious surrender to the inevitable grief mixed with relief.… Seguir leyendo »
L’Union européenne (UE) aura besoin d’une stratégie crédible si les citoyens britanniques décident de la quitter, le 23 juin. Pour éviter une désintégration progressive de l’UE, les dirigeants politiques devront renforcer son attractivité, et notamment le couple franco-allemand.
Si les économistes s’accordent à dire que la sortie de l’UE serait préjudiciable à la fois au Royaume-Uni et à l’UE, mais qu’elle pourrait néanmoins avoir lieu, il est essentiel de préparer les prochaines étapes. Le principal objectif politique a été de négocier avec le Royaume-Uni pour éviter que d’autres pays ne suivent son exemple. Toutefois, il est illusoire de vouloir fonder la survie à long terme de l’UE sur le coût d’en sortir.… Seguir leyendo »
On Britain’s doorstep is a shantytown. Scabies is rife, bronchitis too. Families sleep in flimsy tents in bitter cold. Children play in mud and rubbish. The police don’t go in; they just watch from nearby bridges, swinging batons. Volunteers do their best, bringing food, clothing, tarpaulins; smuggler gangs do their worst, preying on people’s desperation.
How are we letting this happen? France and Britain each year patent more than 14,000 new inventions, support a joint population of more than 120 million people and help 20 million more out of poverty overseas.
The talent of our two nations drove the industrial revolution, the best medical advances in history, and the creation of the world wide web.… Seguir leyendo »
On 13 November, France was struck at its very heart. These terrorist actions were the bloodiest and most horrifying attacks France has experienced in more than half a century.
They caused hundreds of casualties, including one British citizen, brought devastation to their loved ones and outraged millions of people throughout France, Europe and the world, bound together in a movement of shared solidarity that was heart-warming to all French people in these terrible times.
We were struck, and moved, by reactions in the United Kingdom, both official and unofficial. Spontaneously, British citizens gathered to observe moments of silence and remembrance. People from every neighbourhood in London came to our embassy to demonstrate their solidarity with the French people.… Seguir leyendo »
Imagine yourself in a sleepy French city by the Channel. There’s a nice beach where you can get an ice cream and take a selfie with the White Cliffs of Dover on the horizon, and a couple of boardwalk restaurants and cafés where you can go for coffee and a croissant.
Now get in a car and drive east, past the ferry terminal ringed by barbed wire and police officers toward the chemical plant. The first thing you’d notice is another fence, five meters high, of steel and barbed wire. It runs two miles along both sides of the highway in the direction of the ferry to Dover, England.… Seguir leyendo »
Last week, we saw very starkly the desperate measures some migrants will take to try to cross the 20-mile stretch of sea between our two countries. As the extra security fencing the British Government has provided for the Channel Tunnel at Coquelles goes up, would-be migrants have been taking ever more dangerous risks – resulting in serious injuries and, tragically, deaths.
We are both clear: tackling this situation is the top priority for the UK and French governments. We are committed and determined to solve this, and to solve it together.
While the situation last week was particularly acute, the pressures in Calais are not new.… Seguir leyendo »
In the past 60 years, two major choices have shaped French foreign policy while pulling France and the UK apart: the European project begun after the second world war and built in accordance with Jean Monnet's conception,; and national independence, as sought by Charles de Gaulle after his return to power in 1958. These two paths were contradictory, the first only comprehensible because France, having twice nearly perished during the first part of the 20th century, had such profound doubts about itself that it chose to make Europe a substitute for the nation. The UK, however, could not come to terms with having to fade within a "supranational" Europe.… Seguir leyendo »
"The burka is not a religious problem, it's a question of liberty and women's dignity. It's not a religious symbol, but a sign of subservience and debasement. I want to say solemnly, the burka is not welcome in France. In our country, we can't accept women prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity. That is not our idea of freedom.”
So spoke Nicolas Sarkozy in Versailles during his first state of the nation address to France's two chambers, the National Assembly and the Senate. He won rapturous applause and there is little doubt that an overwhelming majority of the French agreed with his every word.… Seguir leyendo »
Sacré bleu! Has there ever been an entente more stereotypicale? To observe President Sarkozy's state visit to Britain this week has been to exist in a sort of sitcom rendering of Anglo-French relations - and all the more amusing for it. In fact, so stereotypically did each of the characters involved discharge themselves that the affair made Allo! Allo! look like a triumph of three-dimensional nuance.
To pluck a few of our cast at random, there was the oleaginous Frenchman who charmed us against logic and our better judgment, his fabulously glamorous wife (they've known each other 10 minutes, don't you know - but these Europeans are so passionate).… Seguir leyendo »
France and Britain can plausibly claim to have the longest-running national rivalry in the history of the world. With brief intermissions, the competition between France and England has been going on for nearly seven centuries, since the hundred years war. The very identity of Britishness, on which Gordon Brown is so keen, was forged in the 18th- and early 19th-century conflict with France. Britain invented itself as the anti-France.
This grand rivalry should continue for another seven centuries - on the football pitch and the rugby field. In politics, it has had its day, and must be replaced by a strategic partnership.… Seguir leyendo »
By Jim Hoagland (THE WASHINGTON POST, 13/05/07):
Tony Blair leaves office still a romantic, a leader who tried to do too much and failed because his ambitions were so high. Jacques Chirac's legacy is that of a political cynic who failed by trying to do too little.The British prime minister has announced that on June 27, he will quit the unassuming townhouse at 10 Downing Street that he has occupied for 10 years. The French president departs from the majestic Elysee Palace this week after 12 years. Both leave in the same condition: politically scarred and deeply unpopular at home after sparkling beginnings.… Seguir leyendo »