The French President's visit to London may very well herald the UK's comeback into the European fold. Signals sent out over the last few days from one side of the Channel to the other are evidence of developments that have taken place over the last few years. The Iraq War, 11th September 2001, the Afghanistan War and the Iranian issue are all part of this, likewise the election of a new French President. France has distanced itself from the idea of a multi-polar world, a vague and loosely defined notion that is not really justified in reality and above all designed as a sign of our rejection of American domination. Our country has broken from the anti-American discourse that cut us off from a number of our partners in the past. The main aim of European integration is not to fight against the USA but to have more influence in the world. In a dual movement of complementarity with NATO and the assertion of its existence on a military level the Union can define a path for it to become more credible in the international arena. This is the wager launched by Nicolas Sarkozy.
Gordon Brown has left his eurosceptic ideas behind to adopt a position that is more in line with the Prime Minister he has become. He has made several steps towards Europe. The queues of clients at the desks of a bankrupt bank convinced him to accept the idea of improved financial regulation, European if need be. Brussels' commitment with regard to an ambitious environmental policy meets with his agreement. He has been won over by France's advances and these will be useful to him in terms of the civilian nuclear sector for example. European solidarity with Iran, Kosovo and Afghanistan has brought him out of his private relationship with the American administration. Our cousins across the Channel cannot do without a strong link with the continent for their trade, their finances and now for their geopolitical position.
Of course France and the UK do not share the same vision of the European Union. But they are the only two Member States who have a permanent seat at the UN Security Council, both enjoy the power of nuclear dissuasion, and have operational armies, and they cannot remain far from one another as they have done in the past. The security of Europe depends on it. Their rapprochement is a major event that may very well bring about the creation of a true European defence system and it is no longer certain that Washington will be opposed to this.
This does not affect the Franco-German relation in any way since this is of a different nature, much more operational on a daily basis and truly unavoidable. Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy recently proved this by overcoming their difference of opinion over the Mediterranean Union. And they will always come to terms with the various aspects of their policies. This is simply because they have decided to do so and have declared it to the world.
However the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, which contains many measures with regard to foreign and defence policy - which may be of benefit to the UK without them having to turn their back on the USA - is already a sign that we have turned to face a new direction.