Friday, January 24, 2003

Are the Frogs hopping mad?

The French seem to be doing a number of things that are humiliating the British Government. If it's not inviting Bob Mugabe for tea, its carving Britain out of EU reform or condemning Britain's stance on Iraq within the UN.

So what are they up to. With the possible exception of the EU (which France and New Labour agree on more than France agrees with Germany) none of this is material, but it is painful to Blair. So one has to ask why the French are behaving in this way. I can think of a few possible answers

It could just be an ignorance of what British reactions would be. Although France would like to be in the position that it didn't have to consider British reactions, she's not, so I think that this is unlikely.

Perhaps it's a response to Blair's rudeness to Chirac last year, which the French President seemed to take far more personally than a British politico would. Or maybe it's ethical dislike to the Iraqi adventure. France's ethical foreign policy is of course as well known as Tony Blair's modesty.

There is also the fact that France may be looking for large concessions from Germany, but as France seems to have been making all the concessions so far when dealing with Germany (except over the Common Agricultural Policy) it's hard to see what those concessions are. And it's even harder to see why France has invited in Comrade Bob, who the Germans do not like.

So why are the French seemingly so keen on humiliating Blair? I can't claim to know, but it is certainly an area to watch.


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