Case Studies Blog

Vive La France

23rd January 2018

 

 

Historically the UK has had a long and at times troubled relationship with France. Not many nations can say they have been at war with one another for 100 years. Even when we have not been at war the relationship has been cordial but not genuinely warm. Perversely the departure of the UK from the EU may be the start of a new chapter in relations heralding a much more co-operative relationship, one might even dare to call it friendship. In my view, a special relationship with France would be every bit as valuable as our “special relationship” with the USA.

France could play a useful role supporting out interests in the EU. UK and France are the only two European countries that are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and our two nations have much more in common than most of France’s European neighbours. France and Germany will always be rivals and fearful of one another. Spain and France are culturally too different. Italy is seen by France as too unreliable, whilst Austria is too close to Germany culturally.

Quite why UK and France have not grown closer over the years has been more to do with attitude than substance. France is a great country that faces many of the same social, economic and security issues as the UK. The EU doesn’t need to pose a significant barrier to closer friendship and co-operation unless we allow it to. UK and France working closely together would be a much more potent force in world affairs and could even bring added value to USA and UK relations.

It is time the two nations backed up cordial rhetoric with substantive action.