Cablegate: Xxxxxxxxxxxx Describes Cautious,
OO RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHFR #4722/01 3481621
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 141621Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1493
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 004722
EO 12958 DECL: 12/13/2017
TAGS PREL, PGOV, EUN, GM, FR
SUBJECT: XXXXXXXXXXXX DESCRIBES CAUTIOUS,
Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor Josiah Rosenblatt for reaso ns 1.4 b and d.
1. (S) SUMMARY. In a December 10 meeting, XXXXXXXXXXXX, said the December 7 Merkel-Sarkozy meetings in Paris were very productive even though Merkel and Sarkozy’s personalities are like “fire and water.” XXXXXXXXXXXX described Sarkozy’s management style as exhausting and said many expected a reshuffling of the cabinet in January. XXXXXXXXXXXX described Germany’s views of the French Mediterranean Union initiative as “cautious.”XXXXXXXXXXXX described close French-German cooperation leading up to France’s EU Presidency in the second half of 2008, which was echoed in a separate meeting withXXXXXXXXXXXX. END SUMMARY.
2. (S) In a December 10 meeting, XXXXXXXXXXXX, said the December 7 Merkel-Sarkozy meetings in Paris were very productive even though Merkel and Sarkozy’s personalities are like “fire and water.”XXXXXXXXXXXXsaid tension is felt throughout the room when the two are together, then added that just being in a room with Sarkozy is enough to make anyone’s stress levels increase. XXXXXXXXXXXX noted that Chirac and Schroeder also did not connect personally, but still had a constructive partnership. XXXXXXXXXXXX remarked that Sarkozy has the unique tendency to disconnect policy areas in a way that normal, interagency coordination would never permit, and that Sarkozy often seems to dismiss the responsible bureaucracies from the policy-making process. The ensuing, less-than-holistic results can provoke dissent in the government (for example, regarding Libyan leader Qadhafi’s current visit to France). According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, fatigue is also a byproduct of the chaos that goes with Sarkozy’s hyper-activism on every front. Apprehension about imminent changes in the ministerial line-up adds to the tension. XXXXXXXXXXXX said many expected a reshuffling of the cabinet in January, adding that XXXXXXXXXXXX sensed ministers and their staffers are “afraid to go on vacation because something might happen to their jobs while they are away.”
3. (C)XXXXXXXXXXXX described Germany’s views of the French Mediterranean Union initiative as “cautious.” XXXXXXXXXXXX said the French government, and the press, have characterized Germany as supportive of the initiative following the December 7 meeting. However, a close read of Chancellor Merkel’s “very diplomatic” statements following the meeting indicates no shift from the cautious views Germany had previously espoused. XXXXXXXXXXXX added that French Ambassador Alain Le Roy, charged with shepherding the initiative, had recent consultations in Germany that provoked “very negative” reactions. Germany does agree that the issues the Mediterranean Union is intended to address are very important, but continues to prefer the Euromed dialogue established through the Barcelona Process, in part because funding for the Mediterranean Union initiative would be difficult to assure. XXXXXXXXXXXX noted that some Germans view France,s Med Union proposal as “parochial,” since Germany,s own backyard is not the Mediterranean but Eastern Europe.
4. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX said President Sarkozy seems to have come around to previous leaders’ conclusions that French-German cooperation is the “engine” of the EU. French-German exchanges are intensifying in preparation for the French EU Presidency in the second half of 2008. Just as the November 12 joint Council of Ministers meeting focused on one of France’s Presidency priorities, immigration and integration, the next intergovernmental meeting will focus on the French Presidency priority of energy and environment. France and Germany are also working closely on the third French priority, ESDP, with frequent contacts at the Political Director level and between planning staffs. XXXXXXXXXXXX characterized France as seeking to translate high-level, theoretical consensus on ESDP goals into concrete projects such as the planned ESDP mission to Chad.
5. (C) Also on Dec. 10, XXXXXXXXXXXX, echoed XXXXXXXXXXXX in describing close French-German cooperation leading up to the French EU Presidency. XXXXXXXXXXXX added that the next in the series of regular “Blaesheim” meetings involving French and German heads of government and foreign ministers will focus on both bilateral and European questions of security and defense.XXXXXXXXXXXX noted that Germany participated in the French planning seminar for the EU Presidency in November, drawing on its recent experience with the EU Presidency (Jan.-June 2007). On other points,XXXXXXXXXXXX said word in the German Embassy was that the atmospherics of the Merkel-Sarkozy meeting were positive and that the French clarification that all EU member-states could participate in the Mediterranean Union initiative was well-received.
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