Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Blair's Appeasement - 29th January 2003, 23.15

Blair knows that he has to maintain good relations with the French if he wishes to maintain the illusion that he is at the "heart of Europe". That is why, despite the French insistence on acting in a contrarian fashion, Blair will insist on making concessions.

Mr Blair is planning to strike deals with the French on cooperation over terrorism designed to rival the Anglo-French deal on defence struck at St Malo in 1998. He is also looking at an agreement for EU forces to take over the peacekeeping role in Macedonia once Nato quits at the end of the year. Plans are also being discussed for greater cooperation on military hardware, including making future aircraft carriers compatible for French and British forces.

It is a clumsy attempt to square a circle and avoid the choice of Europe or America in the short term.


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