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Saint-Malo… 15 years ago

The final press conference in St Malo, cohabitation obliges France is represented by two people (credit: Elysée)
The final press conference in St Malo. Cohabitation obliges, France is represented by two heads. The speech is the same French executive side. But we can notice how much this (official) photo gives the image of an explanatory Chirac with his hands open and an attentive Jospin with his hands crossed (credit: Elysée)

(BRUSSELS2) « I believe it is vital for Europe to have a stronger voice and strength in international affairs ". This is how Tony Blair, British Prime Minister defines the objective of the Franco-British summit that he has just held with his French counterparts, Jacques Chirac and Lionel Jospin (we are in a period of cohabitation) on December 3 and 4 in Saint Malo. For the occasion, the HMS Birmingham left its home port of Porthmouth to drop anchor in the city of corsairs. A cooperation agreement is signed between the two Defense Ministers.

The basics of the ESDP (future CSDP)

It was between the French and the British in Saint-Malo, on December 3 and 4, 1998, that the bases of a European security and defense policy (ESDP) were laid. Because, as President Chirac reminds us " There will be no common European foreign and security policy if the two main diplomatic and military powers of Europe, in short two of the most important diplomatic and military powers of Europe, do not come to an agreement ».

A more engaged Britain?

Blair's bet was that " Britain's different attitude, more committed, more constructive, will have a better impact for Europe as a whole ". 15 years later, this statement seems insane and impossible in the mouth of one of his successors. And it is rather the opposite discourse that we hear in London.

Read also: French and English ministers celebrate 10 years of St Malo (2008)

To be continued on Club, a fact sheet on the Saint-Malo agreement

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).