EU putting French interests first again?

You can almost hear lips being licked in anticipation in the Elysée Palace.  The Financial Times reports that the EU is divided about whether it should life its embargo on selling arms to China, imposed after the Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Members of the paper tiger are apparently jostling in an attempt to determine who dictates European foreign policy; national governments, the current holder of the rotating presidency of the EU, or Lady Catherine Ashton, the over promoted lightweight nonentity ‘foreign policy supremo’ who has never stood for democratic election in her life.  As the FT explains:

These matters were supposed to have been settled in December when the EU adopted the Lisbon treaty, a set of institutional reforms meant to strengthen the role of the foreign policy chief.

Ah yes, Lisbon.  That unimportant minor revising treaty that was presented to the British people as a mere tidying up exercise.  Anyway, we have Spain, as rotating President telling China that it intends to use its six months in the hot seat to drive forward the discussions on lifting the embargo. As  Spain is France’s ventriloquist dummy the real pressure here is coming from Paris as the Sarkozy government eyes another opportunity to sell its military hardware to a rival of NATO.

With America deciding to sell more weaponry to Taiwan, incurring Chinese wrath, the French have an eye to the main chance. Paris can see if they can get the EU arms embargo of China lifted France will likely reap further trade rewards from Beijing, filling the gap left by American goods that China will refuse to order as part of its Taiwan protest.

Given that the UK is opposed to lifting the arms embargo it is little surprise that Gordon Brown’s third choice for the foreign representative role, Lady Ashton, is nowhere to be seen and probably so out of her depth she wishes she was back chairing her old health authority.  With France already laying the groundwork for improved bi-lateral relations with China, using its tried and tested method of positive public pronouncements to demonstrate its desire for a deal, we will get a litmus test of the true extent of British influence at the heart of Europe.

The EU would need a unanimous agreement to lift the embargo, so Britain can easily prevent arms sales being approved.  But if we see the EU lift the embargo then we will have confirmation of what we’ve known for so long, that Britain is just a cash cow in the grand European project and that it is France along with Germany who benefit from the existence of the EU.

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1 Response to “EU putting French interests first again?”


  1. 1 JohnRS 01/02/2010 at 12:46 pm

    …..and what will we do if the embargo is lifted?

    Sod all, as usual.

    Our political leaders (in all three main parties) are in love with the EU and won’t lift a limp wrist to do anything.


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