Monday, July 2, 2007

This is old, but it is, I think, still an interesting National Interest interview with French President Nicholas Sarkozy prior to taking office. Regarding the admission of Turkey into the European Union, Sarkozy says (e.a.):

Whether Turkey meets the conditions for entry or not does not solve the problem. On this matter, I have always been clear: I do not think Turkey has a right to join the European Union because it is not European. But just because Turkey should not become a member of Europe does not mean that it should be shunned by Europe. Who could seriously argue that the closeness of links between Turkey and Europe, that are the fruit of a long common history and a sincere friendship, should be destroyed if Turkey did not enter the EU? Turkey is a great country that shares a number of our interests and our values. Therefore we must strengthen our ties with the country through a "privileged partnership".

But we should go further and offer to the countries in the Mediterranean the establishment of a "Mediterranean Union", in which Turkey would be a natural pivot. This Union would work closely with the EU. It could organize periodic meetings between its chiefs of states similar to the model of the G8. There could be a Mediterranean Council, like the European Council. The foundations of this area of solidarity and cooperation would be a common immigration policy, commercial and economic development, the promotion of the rule of law, the protection of the environment and the promotion of co-development, with, for example, the creation of a Mediterranean investment bank based on the model of the European version.

Also, Sarkozy suggests the possibility of cooperation between the policies of the European Union and the aims of a trans-Atlantic alliance, but he does also wish to keep some of the scope of NATO limited (e.a.):

TNI: You have been criticized for being too close to the administration of George W. Bush. What is your response to your detractors?

NS: I think this is unconstructive criticism. The friendship between Europe and the United States is a cornerstone of world stability, period. It is deep, sincere and unshakeable. But friendship means being with your friends when they need you and also being able to tell them the truth when they are wrong. Friendship means respect, understanding and affection . . . but not submission. Friendship is only real when it is honest and independent. I want an independent France and an independent Europe, and I call for our American friends to let us be free; free to be their friends.

TNI: One might see the Atlantic alliance in opposition to the idea of a European defense policy. Do you think this a just criticism?

NS: This "either/or" approach is outdated. Europeans, like Americans, need both NATO and the EU. Because they complement each other. Let me remind you that of the 26 members of NATO, 21 are in the European Union; and of the 27 countries in the EU, 21 are members of NATO. But Europe needs to make sure than NATO does not become, as seems to be the wish of the United States, an international institution undertaking too broad a range of military, humanitarian and policing missions. NATO should not become a concurrent organization to the UN.