French President Nicolas Sarkozy outlined what one expert commentator called "a quite significant change in French foreign policy" in what the Financial Times of London said on Monday was "his first major foreign policy speech as France's president."[1]  --  Sarkozy " identified three main global challenges:  to prevent an ideological confrontation between Islam and the West; to accommodate emerging powers such as China, India, and Brazil; and to combat dangers such as global warming, pandemics, and competition for energy supplies," and said that nation-states are ill-suited to deal with them.  --  But in Europe, Sarkozy believes, is "a common vision" that can show the way for other nations.  --  Sarkozy believes that the European Union, whose construction he called "the absolute priority of our foreign policy," represents "the practical experience of a shared sovereignty that corresponds well to the demands of our times."  --  "But first [Europe] need[s] to improve its conduct of joint military operations and rationalize its arms procurement policies," wrote John Thornhill, summarzing Sarkozy's speech.   --  "Mr. Sarkozy also proposed expanding the Group of Eight industrial countries by permanently including China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa."  --  Sarkozy's vision of international relations contrasts sharply with that of the Bush administration, which calls the ideological confrontation between radical Islam and the West the defining struggle of our time, is committed to maintaining hegemonic superiority over emerging powers, and resists multilateral approaches to the related crises of global warming and energy.  -- Sarkozy's speech is gaining wide international coverage, but because of its length (6,300 words) and complexity, each country's media tends to emphasize only the parts of interest to them and to ignore its comprehensive vision.  --  For this reason, we have translated below the full text of Sarkozy's speech below.[2] ...



By John Thornhill

Financial Times (UK)
August 27, 2007

PARIS -- France will press for a bolder European Union security strategy when it assumes the rotating presidency next year, aiming to turn Europe into a global power with a decisive role in promoting a more just and effective world order.

In his first major foreign policy speech as France's president, Nicolas Sarkozy described the E.U. as a model of effective multilateralism that boasted a full range of instruments to address international crises, including military force, humanitarian assistance, and financial aid. "Europe must progressively affirm itself as a first-rank player for peace and security in the world, in co-operation with the United Nations, the Atlantic Alliance, and the African Union," he said.

Addressing senior French diplomats, Mr. Sarkozy identified three main global challenges: to prevent an ideological confrontation between Islam and the West; to accommodate emerging powers such as China, India, and Brazil; and to combat dangers such as global warming, pandemics, and competition for energy supplies.

Mr. Sarkozy said nation states, which were still at the heart of the global order, were not well suited to dealing with such challenges. Their capacity for action was constrained by financial interests, media influence, criminal networks, and terrorists.

Unilateral force, as used by the U.S. in Iraq, led to failure, while some multilateral institutions, such as the U.N. or NATO, were also struggling to prove their effectiveness in Darfur and Afghanistan.

"[Europe] alone has accumulated, during the long process of building the community, the practical experience of a shared sovereignty that corresponds well to the demands of our times," he said.

"The construction of Europe will remain the absolute priority of our foreign policy," he said. "France is not strong without Europe, just as Europe is not strong without France."

He said Europe had to develop a common vision of the main challenges that confronted it and how best to respond to them. But first it needed to improve its conduct of joint military operations and rationalize its arms procurement policies.

Although Europe should be allied to the U.S., its interests would not always be aligned.

Mr. Sarkozy had tough words on Russia, which he accused of exhibiting a "certain brutality" in using its energy assets. "When one is a great power, one should not be brutal," Mr. Sarkozy said.

He repeated his objections to full Turkish membership of the E.U. but supported talks with Ankara providing they did not presuppose accession.

François Heisbourg, director of the Strategic Research Foundation, said he was most struck by how Mr. Sarkozy outlined a timetable and a process for achieving his goals. "This is a quite significant change in French foreign policy," he said.

Mr. Sarkozy also proposed expanding the Group of Eight industrial countries by permanently including China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa.


[Translated from Le Monde (Paris)]

France and society


Le Monde (Paris)
August 27, 2007,1-0@2-3224,36-947776@51-947771@45-100,0.html

--The text of the speech by Nicolas Sarkozy, president of the Republic, as it was communicated before delivery on Monday, August 27.

Monsieur le Premier ministre, Monsieur le Président du Sénat, Monsieur le Président de l'Assemblée Nationale, Monsieur le Ministre des Affaires étrangères et européennes, Mesdames et Messieurs les Ministres, Mesdames et Messieurs les Parlementaires, Mesdames et Messieurs les Ambassadeurs.

International discussion is not abstract or distant: today's threats -- terrorism, nuclear proliferation, criminality -- know no borders ; changes in the environment and the global economy affect our everyday lives; human rights are flouted right in front of us.

Guided by our values, our foreign policy must base itself on a clear vision of the world and of the interests that we defend. Through that vision, we express our identity as a nation. It is the case at present that French people look with concern at the state of the world, the role of Europe, and the place of France.

They welcomed with hope the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the unjust Yalta order; the progress of human rights and democracy, the promises of a globalization that has, since 1990, allowed global GDP to double and raised the average living standards by 50%.

They observe today that unlike the years following World War II, the leaders of the past twenty years have not succeeded in creating a new planetary order; they have not even shown any efficiency in adapting the preceding one.

If we except rare moments of unity like the first Gulf War or September 11, 2001, what dominates is a sense both widespread and justified of division and loss of control in a world at once global and fragmented, composed of interdependencies that have not been mastered.

While states remain at the heart of the international system, their capacity for action now faces the power of other economic actors, media, or worse, criminal and terrorist networks; they are also confronted with the dangers of this beginning of the 21st century: immigration flows that are less and less under control, a destabilization of global economic balances that weakens trust in globalization as outsourcing extends itself successively to every sector of activity, and also financial crises, like the one that we have just passed through and that may recur if those at the helm of leading nations do not decide to coordinate resolute action to support transparency and the regulation of international markets.

Faced with international crises like that of Iraq, it is today an established fact that the unilateral recourse to force leads to failure; but multilateral institutions, even universal ones like the U.N., or regional ones like NATO, are struggling to prove their efficacy, from Darfur to Afghanistan.

Even in Europe there are strong doubts, notably after the latest enlargement: where are the borders of the Union? Are new enlargements compatible with the need pursuit of integration? More broadly, hasn't Europe become the transmission belt for globalization's excesses, whereas it ought to, on the contrary, absorb its shocks and allow peoples to take advantage of all its opportunities?

Against this background of worry and disillusionment, French people are wondering what France can do to confront the principal challenges with which the world is confronted at this opening of the 21st century. I see three, upon which all the others depend.

-- The first challenge: how to prevent a confrontation between Islam and the West, desired by extremist groups like al-Qaeda, who dream of establishing, from Indonesia to Nigeria, a caliphate that says no to any opening, any modernity, even to any notion of diversity. Should these forces attain their sinister aim, there is no doubt that this century would be even worse than the preceding one, marked as it was by a merciless clash between ideologies.

-- The second challenge: how to integrate into a new global order the emerging giants of China, India, and Brazil. Engines of global growth, they are also the source of serious disequilibria; as giants of tomorrow, they want their new status to be recognized, without always being ready to respect rules even when they are in the interest of all.

-- The third challenge: how to confront the major threats that we, in the history of humanity, are the first generation to identify scientifically and to be able to address globally, whether these be global warming, new pandemics, or the durability of energy supplies?

To these questions, I should like to offer my response, in the name of France, and, first of all, to explain to you my approach to international issues.

I am among those who think that the mark of a statesman is the will to change the way things are done. For that an unshakeable will is required; it is also necessary to bring others to share one's dreams, one's ambitions, and one's aims.

I am among those who think that France still has much to offer the world, because it has one of the most dynamic, best educated populations, one of the most productive economies, one of the best corps of diplomats, and one of the finest militaries. But our country is not the only one to have these advantages, and it will keep them only if it succeeds in undertaking many ambitious reforms.

I proposed these reforms to the French people; they will all be carried out with determination in a spirit of dialogue and openness.

I am also among those who think that France is great and listened to when it is unified behind one vision and one will. The French elected me with a clear and detailed program. They want a president who acts and who gets results. This is true domestically. It is also true in foreign policy.

These two dimensions of what I do are, moreover, inseparable: no more than any other nation does France have permanent rights to its international standing; its message in the world will continue to be heard only if it is borne by an ambitious, confident people, a society at peace with itself, and a productive economy.

The reforms that I want to carry out domestically to give the French faith in their future, modernize our economy, and adapt our institutions, are part of my vision of France in the world. I want a France that is stronger at home, for this is essential if its influence is to extend beyond its borders. It is in this, too, that consists my project's coherence.

I am among those who think that France cannot be strong without Europe, just as Europe cannot be strong without France. I am among those who think that the emergence of a strong Europe as a chief actor on the international stage can contribute in a decisive way to building the more effective, more just, more harmonious global order that our populations demand.

I am among those who think that the friendship of the United States and France is as important today as it was over the course of the past two centuries. That we are allies does not mean that we always follow the same line, and I feel as perfectly free to say where we agree as where we disagree, without subservience or taboos.

I am among those who think that the ancient ties of every sort that link us to the peoples of the Mediterranean and, beyond it, to Africa, are an asset, an opportunity, as long as we have the ambition and the will to organize and strengthen them, breaking definitively with old ways.

I am among those who think that our language is at the heart of our identity and a part of our soul; that the French-speaking domain and its solidarities are a principal asset for all those who share in possessing the French language.

Finally, I am among those who think that France remains the bearer of a message and of values that resonate throughout the world, those of the Declaration of the Right of Man and of the Citizen, of humanism, and also, more recently, of humanitarianism and of the responsibility to protect that are incarnated in people like Bernard Kouchner, whom I have been happy to welcome into my administration and to place at the head of our diplomacy.

Mesdames et Messieurs les Ambassadeurs, constructing Europe will remain the absolute priority of our foreign policy. Without a strong, active European Union, France would not be able to bring an effective response to the three challenges of our times. Were Europe not to assume its role as a power, the world would be deprived of a needed center of equilibrium.

This is why I have desired, as my top priority, to get Europe going again by proposing the simplified treaty. Success was far from guaranteed, but we obtained it thanks to a flawless Franco-German entente, which is an essential engine of the European Union.

And here I want to express a particular homage to my friend Angela Merkel. Success also owes much to the Commission and to its remarkable president, José Manuel Barroso. In reality, the goodwill of all came together, thanks to our having proposed a way out of the crisis that was sufficiently broad and inclusive. This is a lesson for the future.

The adoption in June of a very specific political mandate has opened the way to a technical intergovernmental conference that will confine itself to giving juridical form to our political agreement, which does not at all diminish the size of the task of the Portuguese presidency, in which we have complete confidence.

Our wish is that it finish its work before October's European Council, in order to allow the new treaty to take effect before the European elections in the spring of 2009.

Now that Europe has emerged from an institutional logjam that lasted for ten years, the moment has come to frame the question of the future of the European project. Before the end of the year, I want the 27 to create a committee of ten to twelve high-level personalities of experience and wisdom, like those presided over by Werner, Davignon, and Westendorp, or the Delors committee, to reflect on this simple but essential question: "What Europe for 2020-2030, and what missions?"

These figures should express their conclusions and proposals before the June 2009 European elections, in order that the newly elected Parliament and the next Commission can benefit from their work, complementing the simplified treaty and the renovation of the Union's policies and of its finances.

If this essential work of reflection on the future of our Union is undertaken by the 27, France will not oppose new chapters in the negotiation between the European Union and Turkey opened in the months and years ahead, provided that these chapters be compatible with the two possible visions of the future of their relations: either membership, or as close an association as possible without going all the way to membership.

Everyone knows that the second formula is the one that I advocated during my electoral campaign. I have not changed my mind and I think that it will one day be recognized by all as the most reasonable one. In the meantime, like Prime Minister Erdogan, I want Turkey and France to reknit the special bonds that they have woven in the course of a long history in common.

The French presidency of Union, only ten months from now, should be mobilizing all of our energy from now on. For it to succeed, we must act in concert and listen carefully to our partners, all our partners. Either the prime minister or myself will visit every one of the capitals of the Union before July 1.

We shall of course have priorities to propose to move Europe forward in the key areas of immigration, energy, and the environment. Three domains in which the expectations of Europeans are high, and on which I shall have more to say.

Today, I want to emphasize the matter of Europe and defense. It will soon be ten years since the Saint-Malo agreement, and the moment has come to give it a new élan.

What was accomplished in these last years is far from negligible, given the fact that Europe has conducted some fifteen operations on our continent, in Africa, in the Middle East, and in Asia. These interventions are the proof, if one were needed, that there is not competition, but rather complementarity, between NATO and the Union. Faced with the multiplication of crises, there is not an excess, but rather a lack of Europe's capabilities.

I want Europeans fully to assume their responsibility and their role in the service of their own security and that of the world. For that, we need as a priority to strengthen our capabilities in the area of planning and operations; to develop Europe in the area of armament with new programs and a rationalization of those that exist, so as to ensure the interoperability of our forces; and for each European country to have its role in our common security.

But beyond instruments, we also need a common vision of the threats that weigh on us, and of the means of responding to them: we must elaborate together a new "European security strategy," extending the one adopted in 2003 under the auspices of Javier Solana. We could approve this new text in the course of the French presidency in 2008.

Our white paper on defense and national security, whose elaboration in coming months I have ordered, will be France's contribution to this necessary work. France and Germany have put in place the foundations of this European démarche: the Franco-German brigade, and also the European Corps.

In Saint-Malo, France and the United Kingdom pursued this constructive project, as is natural, since together, our two defense budgets represent two thirds of the total of the other twenty-five countries of the Union, and our defense research budgets represent twice those of the other twenty-five countries together. But it is the business of Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, and all the other partners to participate in this common effort, which will allow us to make the most of our assets.

The Union has the full array of instruments of intervention in crises: military, humanitarian, financial. It must progressively assert itself as an actor of the first rank for the peace and security of the world, in cooperation with the United Nations, the Atlantic Alliance, the African Union. It should also have the will to undertake a genuine policy of cooperation and assistance in the area of security with third countries ['tiers pays'], particularly in Africa.

The progress Europe has made in defense do not at all signify competition with NATO. The Atlantic Alliance, it must be recalled, is ours: we founded it, and we are today one of its principal contributors. Of its twenty-six members, twenty-one are members of the Union. To oppose the Union to NATO makes no sense: we need them both.

What's more: I am convinced that it is in the enlightened interest of the United States for Europe to gather its forces, to rationalize its capabilities, in short to organize its defense. We should move forward with pragmatism, with ambition, without ideological preconceptions, with the security of the Western world as our principal concern.

Because the two movements are complementary, I want us in the coming months to make common progress toward the strengthening of the Europe of defense and toward the renovation of NATO and of its relation with France. This is, moreover, what is taking place on the ground: in Afghanistan, under U.N. mandate, NATO's force was not long ago led by the Union's European Corps under the orders of a French general.

Kosovo offers another illustration of this complementarity since the Union and NATO, under U.N. mandate, are cooperating closely there. This cooperation will take on a crucial importance in the course of the coming months. At France's initiative, the Contact Group is pursuing its efforts to start dialogue up again between Serbs and Kosovars.

We support the principle of an independence supervised by the international community that guarantees the rights of minorities and is accompanied by the European Union. France will support any solution accepted by both parties. I wish today to issue a triple appeal: to Serbs and Kosovars, that they show realism and lend themselves in good faith to this final effort to reach a mutually accepted solution; to Russians and Americans, that they understand that this very difficult issue is first of all a European issue; and to Europeans, that they should maintain their unity, since it is the countries of the Union that ought to undertake the main part of the responsibilities and costs and that it is within the Union that the long-term future of the Balkan region lies.

Mesdames et Messieurs les Ambassadeurs, the Union, soon to be given effective institutions, a long-term president of the European Council, a high representative in charge of foreign policy replacing the three present officials, and a veritable European diplomatic service, will be up to the task of asserting more effectively on the global stage the vision and values that we share.

For France, this emergence of Europe as a global political actor corresponds to a necessity, since we are faced with the three challenges of the 21st century that I evoked earlier: what answers shall we together be able to offer? The threat of a confrontation between Islam and the West, first of all. We would be wrong to underestimate the possibility of this: the cartoon affair was a harbinger of it.

Our countries, all our countries, including those of the Muslim world, are today under the threat of criminal attacks like those that have hit New York, Bali, Madrid, Bombay, Istanbul, London, and Casablanca. Think of what would happen tomorrow if terrorists used nuclear, biological, or chemical means. The first duty of our states is to organize complete cooperation among security services of all the countries involved.

Our duty, and that of the Atlantic Alliance, is to redouble our efforts in Afghanistan. I have decided to strengthen the presence of our trainers within the Afghan army, for it is that army that should lead the way in engaging and willing the fight against the Taliban.

I have decided to redouble our efforts in the area of aid and reconstruction, for there will be no lasting success if the Afghan people do not reap the tangible fruits of a return of security and peace. Nor will there be any success in the struggle against drugs. The moment has no doubt come to name, under the authority of President Karzai, a figure of the first rank able to ensure a more effective coordination between military actions and civilian initiatives.

But our actions in Afghanistan would be in vain if on the other side of the border Pakistan were to remain the refuge of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, before becoming, perhaps, their victim. I am convinced that a more determined policy on the part of all Pakistani authorities is possible and that it is in their long-term interest. We are ready to give them a hand.

To prevent a confrontation between Islam and the West is also to encourage and help the forces of moderation and modernity to cause an Islam of openness and toleration, accepting diversity as an enrichment, to prevail in every Muslim country. In this domain, there is no single miracle recipe.

But the evolution of countries like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, and Indonesia, show, despite major difference, the existence of a social movement, encouraged by governments. I want our cooperation to strengthen these programs turned toward openness and social dialogue, in cooperation with -- why not? -- the representatives of France's Islam.

To prevent a confrontation of Islam and the West is also to help Muslim countries, as France proposes, gain access to the energy of the future: nuclear electricity, respecting treaties and in full cooperation with the countries that have already mastered that technology.

To prevent a confrontation between Islam and the West, finally, is to address the crises of the Middle East. It was only five years ago that the region was facing only one crisis. Today if is facing four, very different, but each day more and more interlinked.

Everything has been said and tried à propos of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The paradox of the situation is that we know what its solution will be, two states -- or perhaps we should say, rather: two nation-states -- living side by side in peace and security within certain, recognized borders. We know in detail the content of this solution via the Clinton parameters and the legacy of Taba.

We had an idea of the path to take: the road map, which certainly must be revisited. We are acquainted, finally, with the godfathers of the peace: the members of the Quartet, henceforth represented by a figure of the first rank: Tony Blair, for the moderate Arab countries.

Despite all that, everyone has the despairing feeling that peace is not advancing. Worse: that it is receding in minds and hearts. I have the reputation of being Israel's friend, and that's true. I shall never compromise Israel's security. But all the leaders of the Arab countries, beginning with President Mahmoud Abbas, many of whom have come to Paris since my election, know the feelings of friendship and respect toward their peoples that I have.

May that friendship authorize me to say to Israeli and Palestinian leaders that France is determined to take or to support every useful initiative. But France has a conviction: peace will be negotiated first between Israelis and Palestinians. In the short term, our efforts and those of the Quartet and the moderate Arab countries should go to rebuilding the Palestinian Authority under the authority of its president.

But it is just as indispensable to initiate once again without delay an authentic peace dynamic leading to the creation of a Palestinian state. If the parties and the international community fail to live up to this aim, the creation of a "Hamastan" in the Gaza Strip will threatens to appear retrospectively as the first step toward Islamist radicals' taking control of all the Palestinian territories. We cannot resign ourselves to that perspective. France is not resigned to it.

For centuries, Lebanon has been dear to French hearts. That friendship is not directed to one group or clan: France is the friend of all Lebanese. France is passionately attached to the full liberty, independence, and sovereignty of Lebanon, as required in Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701.

It is that friendship that encouraged Bernard Kouchner to invite to La Celle-Saint-Cloud and then to meet in Beirut all the actors of Lebanese politics. The dialogue that resumed there should be pursued in order to lead to a way out of the crisis from the top: an elected president when and as set forth in the constitution, in whom all Lebanese will recognize themselves and able to work with all; within all communities, as also internationally with Lebanon's main partners.

All regional actors, including Syria, should work toward such a solution. If Damascus were to work openly in this direction, the preconditions of a Franco-Syrian dialogue would be laid down.

The Iraqi tragedy cannot leave us indifferent. France was and remains hostile to this war. That history has proved us right does not keep us from measuring its consequences: a nation that is coming apart in a merciless civil war; a clash between Shia and Sunni that could inflame the entire Middle East; terrorist groups that are gaining a lasting foothold, gaining combat experience in attacking new targets throughout the entire world; a global economy at the mercy of the slightest spark reaching the oilfields.

The solution will only be a political one: it requires the marginalization of extremist groups and a sincere process of national reconciliation, at the end of which every segment of Iraqi society, every Iraqi, will be assured of fair access to the country's institutions and resources; it requires, too, that a visible term with respect to the withdrawal of foreign troops be defined.

For it is the awaited decision on that subject that will constrain all the actors to take stock of their responsibilities and to get organized as a result. It is then, and only then, that the international community, beginning with the countries of the region, will be able to usefully act. France, for its part, will be in favor of this. That is the message that Bernard Kouchner has just brought to Baghdad, a message of solidarity and availability.

The fourth crisis, where the other three meet: Iran. France maintains with its leaders a frank dialogue, which has shown itself to be useful on a number of occasions. It took the initiative, with Germany and the United Kingdom, of a renegotiation in which Europe is playing a central role, joined by the United States, Russia, and China. The parameters are known; I need not go over them, except to reaffirm that an Iran equipped with nuclear weapons is unacceptable to me, [in delivering his speech, Sarkozy said: ". . . is unacceptable, and I am choosing my words carefully"] and to emphasize France's complete determination in the present démarche combining increasing sanctions but also an opening should Iran decided to respect its obligations.

This démarche is the only one that will allow us to avoid catastrophic alternatives: an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran. This fourth crisis is no doubt the gravest that today hangs over the international order.

The solutions that are slowly emerging from the other negotiation process of "the six," and which have led North Korea to accept, under IAEA control, the renunciation of its military nuclear program and the closing of the reactor at Yongbyon, show, after Libya's renunciation of weapons of mass destruction, that there exists a way if only there is a will.

The Iranian people, which is a great people and deserves respect, aspires neither to isolation nor to confrontation. France will spare no effort to convince Iran that it would have much to gain by engaging in a serious negotiation with the Europeans, the Americans, the Chinese, and the Russians.

Within a defined space, but one that is so very emblematic, I should like to offer my response to the risk of confrontation between Islam and the West: I want to speak of the project of the Mediterranean Union.

Just as the history of Europe is made up of centuries of confrontations and wars, so the history of the peoples of the Mediterranean is made up of conquests and invasions. As in Europe, strong ties have been woven, and our cultures have mutually enriched one another. This is the case in particular between France and the countries of the Maghreb. The moment has come to take a new step, perhaps a decisive one, and to show by our acts rather than by our speeches the strength of that friendship.

It's not a question of ignoring what has already been accomplished: the Barcelona Process, the 5+5, or the Mediterranean Forum. It's a question, rather, of going further, among countries on the shores of our common sea, taking as an example the démarche that was the one Jean Monnet proposed to Europe: that of concrete solidarities. Let us build around the four pillars of the environment and sustainable development; the dialogue of cultures; economic growth and social development; the Mediterranean security space.

Together, let us imagine, in each of these domains, some ambitious yet realistic projects, mobilizing states, companies, associations, all those who wish to participate in this great project. Let us also show to our peoples that we are able together to build for our children a shared future of prosperity and security! Naturally, the European Union, through its institutions, in particular the Commission, should be a full actor in the Mediterranean Union.

An informal dialogue has already been engaged among the countries on the shores of the Mediterranean, including Libya, which I hope, now that the medical team issue has been settled, to encourage to rejoin the concert of nations. Now we must work toward a first meeting of heads of state and of heads of government that ought to be held in the first semester of 2008.

Mesdames et Messieurs les Ambassadeurs, the last two challenges with which our world is confronted cannot be handled separately: on our capacity to build with the emerging giants an effective, just global order will depend directly our capacity to respond to the threats of the 21st century, which are, specifically, global warming, new pandemics, and the threats to the durability of our energy supply.

Till now, let's admit it, the response of the international community to the upheavals that began now seventeen years ago has not been worthy of the stakes involved.

Since 1990, bipolar confrontation has disappeared; the very notions of Third World and Non-Alignment have lost their meaning. Economic, commercial, financial liberalization, the revolution in computer and communication technologies and its dazzling extension to the entire world, and progress in transportation have created a planet in which interdependence reigns, bringing us opportunities, dangers, and crises that we all share.

At the same time, and as a reaction to what has often been lived as a Westernization of the world, have appeared reactions of rejection, reflexes of identity, national and religious temptations to go back, by way of violence, toward the purity of mythical golden ages. These reactions to globalization could lead to a fragmented, destabilized world.

These changes are accompanied by a second reality, which is not less of a concern: the world has become multipolar, but this multipolarity, which could augur a new concert of great powers, is drifting rather toward the confrontation of political powers. The United States has not been able to resist the temptation to have recourse unilaterally to force and is unfortunately not demonstrating, in the protection of the environment, the capacity for "leadership" [in English in the original] to which it lays claim elsewhere.

Russia is imposing its return to the world stage by making use of its advantages, particularly in the area of oil and gas, with a certain brutality, while the world, Europe in particular, hopes from it an important, positive contribution to the settling of the problems of our times that its regained status justifies.

China, engaged in the most impressive rebirth in the history of humanity, is transforming its insatiable quest for raw materials into a strategy of control, particularly in Africa. Its currency itself, isolated from the laws of the market, is becoming a tool in the service of power politics. The rules gradually negotiated and adopted by states are too often scorned, whether it be a question of social norms, intellectual property, or the environment.

Faced with the excesses of a poorly mastered globalization, faced with the risks of an antagonistic multipolar world, I am convinced that the European Union is able to make an important contribution to the emergence of an effective multilateralism founded on respect for all the rules of life in common and for reciprocity.

Since 1990, a reunited Europe has regained, after five decades of division and dependence, the full and entire responsibility of its destiny and its capacity for influencing world affairs once again in a decisive way. It alone has accumulated, through the long process of its construction as a community, the practical experience of a shared sovereignty that corresponds well to the requirements of our times.

At this beginning of the 21st century, the world does not need a tabula rasa. The necessary institutions exist. The reforms undertaken in 2005 in the U.N. system go in the right direction. What has been lacking up until now is the political will to bring them to fruition, notably the necessary enlargement of the Security Council, in the two categories of members, with, as new permanent members, Germany, Japan, India, Brazil, and a just representation of Africa.

The International Monetary Fund, for its part, should undertake indispensable reforms in order better to reflect and act on today's realities: this is precisely what Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the European Union's candidate for the position of director general, is proposing.

Finally, the G8 should pursue its slow transformation. The dialogue that has taken place at recent summits, with the top leaders of China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa, should be institutionalized and last a full day. Gradually, the G8 should become the G13. Just as much as economic cooperation, the need for close cooperation between the most industrialized countries and the great emerging countries to fight against climate change justifies this change.

Indeed, the protection of our planet makes necessary the recognition of common, but differentiated, responsibilities, among the principal powers of this new world. France will be at the heart of this great debate, whose nature it will be to give shape to international relations.

The new concert of great powers, from the enlarged Security Council to the transformed G8, cannot leave to one side defense and the promotion of human rights and democracy. Much to the contrary: globalization has contributed, and I am glad of it, to the emergence of a better and better informed global public opinion, that responds more and more effectively.

Through the media and through associative movements, it is showing itself to be an actor in its own right in international life. In the fight for the promotion of the founding values of our Republic, a fight that is more concerned with tangible results than with speechifying, I intend to be in regular dialogue with our principal NGOs. A first session was held at the Élysée Palace in June; others will follow, notable on the question of development in Africa.

In listening to our associations, I also wish to listen to the African peoples: what do they expect today from France? I ask you, Mesdames et Messieurs les Ambassadeurs, to reach out to the vital forces of the continent, and particularly to youth. I expressed to those young people, from Dakar, with friendship and frankness, my analysis. I want to get to know, in the same spirit of friendship and frankness, about the expectation of Africa's youth with respect to our country before my next trip to the continent.

Africa will remain an essential priority of our foreign policy and a central axis of the European Union's policy of cooperation. It is not the sick man of the world today. It does not need our charity. For several years now, it has known an average growth of 5% and could do still better if the local producers of certain basic products like cotton were paid a fair price.

Africa has everything it needs to succeed in globalization and France wants to help it to do so.

It's a question of accelerating its development. Despite its progress, Africa remains on the sidelines of global prosperity. It cannot take best advantage of its immense natural riches, too often threatened with pillage, and is suffering more than others the consequences of changes of climate. Halfway on the calendar of the millennium objectives, it is appropriate to continue our aid efforts.

It is not only a matter of financial totals, even if there is no doubt that our commitment must be maintained despite the difficulties that will weigh on the 2008 budget. We must also aim at better results. More aid should signify more efficiency, and constant progress in management.

But there can be no development or prosperity without security. In this respect, too, Africa is making progress. Of the many crises that handicapped the continent, many are being mopped up, in the Great Lakes area as well as in West Africa.

Today the most tragic remains that of Darfur. The suffering of the populations places an obligation on us. That is why I wanted France to get fully involved. It is comforting that following the meeting of the enlarged contact group, in Paris, on June 25, the international community showed its will to act.

The adoption of the resolution creating the hybrid of the United Nations and the African Union is a first success. The force ought now to deploy as soon as possible. The Arusha meeting between rebel factions at the beginning of the month opens a view to a political solution that alone will permit a lasting settlement of the crisis.

In order to mobilize still more the international community confronted with challenges to peace and security in Africa, I have taken the initiative of a meeting of the Security Council that will be held on September 25 in New York, at level of head of state or heads of government, and at which I shall preside.

Mesdames et Messieurs les Ambassadeurs, you will have caught my meaning: I have a very high idea of France and its role in today's world; I have great ambitions for the European Union, its natural place at the heart of an effective, just multilateral system.

In order to realize this ambitious foreign policy, France has the good fortune of having at the head of the Ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes four remarkable figures: Bernard Kouchner, and at his side Jean-Pierre Jouyet, Jean-Marie Bockel, and Rama Yade. France has the good fortune of having a diplomatic corps of the highest quality.

In receiving you today for the first time, I want to tell you how much the work that you do, with competence and talent, sometimes at the risk of your lives, as in Beirut or Baghdad, does honor to our Republic.

Still, it is necessary that your ministry have the means to carry out its mission and that its inter-ministerial role be recognized to be at the heart of our national strategy for France's success in globalization. The moment has therefore come to undertake a new phase of its modernization.

This is the meaning of the letter that together with the prime minister I have addressed this very morning to the minister of foreign and European affairs. He will be able, in particular, to rely, in undertaking his reflections and preparing his "white paper," on the report that Hubert Védrine will submit to me in a few days, as well as on a broad dialogue. I know I can count on Bernard Kouchner, and on all of you, to carry out these reforms and to carry out our foreign policy with determination and imagination. Thank you for being prominent and far-ranging bearers of the message of France!

Translated by Mark K. Jensen
Associate Professor of French
Department of Languages and Literatures
Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma, WA 98447
Phone: 253-535-7219
Web page:
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.