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August 17, 2005

What a Nice Frenchman.

Finally, a Frenchman I can agree with:

Maurice Druon, an author, ex-culture minister and grandee of the Académie Française, said that Britain's aversion to full integration made it unsuited to the full membership for which he campaigned more than 30 years ago.

He suggested instead that it should settle for the status of "privileged partner", the much reduced level of affiliation that French opponents of Turkish EU membership believe should be offered to Ankara.

Mr Druon, 87, holder of an honorary knighthood for services to Anglo-French relations, said: "What Britain and Europe want of the EU is quite different. You want an open market, whereas the rest of us want Europe to evolve as a strong power, not just economically but diplomatically and strategically, too."

Regular readers will know that I think that the European Union should not exist at all and that if it does the UK should not be a member. But if we are to return from the realms of dreams and re-enter reality, such a disassociated position would be good enough. The Norway/Switzerland/Iceland option. Free trade, free movement of people, goods, capital and services. The rest of the clusterfuck can go hang.

Bring it on!

August 17, 2005 in European Union | Permalink

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» Should we stay or should we go?20050817 from L'Ombre de l'Olivier
A French gentleman named Druon Gave the Telegraph something to chew on You're not like the French so get off of our bench The EU is ours to lead to oblivion [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 17, 2005 11:13:28 AM

» Should we stay or should we go? from L'Ombre de l'Olivier
A French gentleman named Druon Gave the Telegraph something to chew on You're not like the French so get off of our bench The EU is ours to lead to oblivion [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 17, 2005 11:14:12 AM

Comments

Careful. They might offer to restore our fishing grounds on the same terms as Switzerland's.

Posted by: dearieme | Aug 17, 2005 11:59:22 AM

I'd prefer Icelands terms.

Posted by: Rob Read | Aug 17, 2005 1:14:32 PM

Well, I'm norwegian, and I don't think you want our kind of membership. We get everything you get, but we don't get to vote on it. A simple clean break would be the best you could get.

Posted by: Henning | Aug 17, 2005 2:27:56 PM

Except that, whatever you feel about the UK and the EU, M. Druon is wrong, or at least presumptuous. He describes what France wants (under French leadership, of course) and then says it's what "the rest of Europe wants". Where is his evidence for this?

I seem to remember that France claimed to represent the "European view" over Iraq, only to find that most European countries disagreed with them. France's reaction was to tell the other countries to shut up as it was France's view that mattered.

Posted by: HJHJ | Aug 17, 2005 8:25:43 PM

I was quite surprised to see that you considered membership of the European Economic Area to be superior to membership of the European Union. Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein get the worst of both worlds.

You have to implement the directives that harmonise the single market without having much say over how these laws are drafted. The EEA has its own enforcement mechanism and you are, like all members of the EU, subjected to the regulatory imposts which undermine the freedoms that the single market was supposed to introduce.

Even Switzerland is not that good a model to emulate since their structures are gradually conforming, via treaty, to EU norms.

Best solution: free trade agreement and recognition of EU licences and permissions, even if it is not mutual.

Posted by: Philip Chaston | Aug 17, 2005 9:21:48 PM