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Viewing cable 05PARIS8631, AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH FORMER EU COMMISSION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05PARIS8631 2005-12-23 10:10 2011-02-10 08:08 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Paris
Appears in these articles:
http://abonnes.lemonde.fr/documents-wikileaks/article/2011/02/09/wikileaks-les-visiteurs-de-l-ambassade_1477418_1446239.htm
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 008631 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/23/2015 
TAGS: PREL PGOV FR EUN
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH FORMER EU COMMISSION 
PRESIDENT JACQUES DELORS 

Classified By: Acting Political Counselor Bruce I. Turner for reasons 1 
.4 (b) and (d). 

1. (C) SUMMARY: In a meeting with Ambassador Stapleton on 
December 21, former EU Commission president Jacques Delors 
underlined his feeling that Europe is currently in a deep 
crisis, in part because of the lack of visionary European 
leadership, but also because of Europeans' hostility to EU 
enlargement, and disagreements among member states about 
foreign policy and socio-economic matters. The French 
people, he said, are trapped in a "schizophrenia" combining 
arrogance (the exaltation of France) with self-doubt. He did 
not see a politician on the French scene, on the left or the 
right, capable of leading France out of this malaise, and he 
refused to be drawn out about his preferences on either the 
left or the right. Delors nonetheless insisted that the 
Socialist Party was fundamentally pro-transatlantic, adding 
that no matter who is the victor in 2007, U.S.-French 
relations would improve. He concluded with the hope that the 
U.S. would pay more attention to the EU and noted the need 
for the U.S. and the EU to work as partners, and not rivals, 
to confront the challenges of the 21st century. END SUMMARY. 

The Crisis in the EU 
-------------------- 

2. (C) Ambassador Stapleton met December 21 with Jacques 
Delors in his office at the Council of Employment, Income, 
and Social Cohesion, the government-affiliated think tank 
that Delors, 80, now heads. Delors said he believed Europe 
was in a deep crisis, from which it was proving difficult to 
emerge. First, the Europeans did not understand or 
appreciate the need for the May 2004 enlargement, which he 
characterized several times with great emotion an "imperative 
of history." As a young European activist in the 1950s, he 
said, he would not have imagined today's EU of 25. But the 
events of the second half of the century made it necessary to 
enlarge. He welcomed the opening of accession talks with 
Turkey in the optic of preventing a clash of civilizations 
between the West and Islam. 

3. (C) The second cause of crisis, Delors said, was the deep 
disagreements among EU member states on foreign policy (as 
exemplifed by the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s 
and in the lead up to Iraq in late 2002 and early 2003) and 
on socio-economic policy. On the latter, Delors discerned 
three divergent viewpoints among European actors: to the left 
is the English model, followed by Sweden; to the right, the 
French model; and in the middle, he said, is the path he 
himself advocated as commission president, but which finds 
few adherents today: the path of small steps. His view was 
that EU member states should attempt only to agree on 
concrete initiatives and put aside the mirage of a fully 
agreed foreign policy. 

French Narcissism 
----------------- 

4. (C) When asked how the EU might work its way out of the 
crisis, Delors responded that, regrettably, Europe currently 
lacked the visionary leaders of the past such as Adenauer, 
Schuman, Kohl, and Mitterand. The current heads of state, he 
said, had no real vision. He believed the new German 
government would play a positive role re-establishing 
equilibrium in Germany's relations with Europe and with the 
United States. But he was dismissive of President Chirac and 
the current government, arguing that this would not change 
until new presidential elections. More generally, he 
complained about a French predilection to put theory before 
practice, often with disastrous results. Similarly, the 
French system had difficulty reconciling its myth of unity 
with the existence of diversity. 

5. (C) In regards to the French rejection of the EU 
constitutional treaty in the May 29 referendum, Delors 
described himself as "shocked" by the French notion that its 
own rejection of the constitutional treaty made it a dead 
letter. "What pretension!" he exclaimed. He continued that 
the other EU member states had the right to pronounce 
themselves on the treaty, and that the EU should not consider 
next steps until the views of all were on record. (Comment: 
Delors did not address the fact that some countries, such as 
the UK, might prefer not to go on record. End Comment.) 

France's Identity Crisis 
------------------------ 

6. (C) Delors said France was now in a peculiar situation -- 
the French people are at once traumatised by their smaller 
role in the world and arrogant about their unique calling and 
ability to bring positive values to the world. The 
combination of this traumatism and arrogance, he said, made 
for a poisonous schizophrenia. He castigated as dangerous in 
particular those who "are tempted to exalt France's 
importance on the world scene." Unfortunately, he did not 
see a leader on the French political scene who could persuade 
the French people to abandon this delusional mindset in the 
interest of playing a more pragmatic, "useful" role in 
coordination with others, including the U.S. On the 
contrary, he expressed some concern that far-right 
politicians, through appeals to France's "post-Napoleonic 
reflex," would exacerbate the problem. 

Improving U.S.-French Relations 
------------------------------- 

7. (C) Further to the question of the 2007 presidential 
election, Delors said that no matter what the result, he 
believed the next French president will want to improve 
relations with the U.S. "It's impossible to maintain the 
current situation," he said. He insisted that the Socialist 
Party (PS) was fundamentally pro-American and pro-European, 
"pro-Atlantic" in his term, as was Francois Bayrou's centrist 
party UDF (Democratic Union for France), despite the decision 
of many PS members to vote against the constitution and the 
leadership's use of what could be called an anti-American 
rhetoric in its campaigning and public declarations. 

8. (C) Delors insisted throughout the meeting that the U.S. 
and EU needed to work as partners, and not as rivals, to 
address the challenges of the twenty-first century, citing in 
particular the emergence of China. He saw a need for the 
U.S. to "pay more attention" to the mood in Europe, without 
giving undue consideration to public opinion polls and the 
media. Saying that "Europe is not as ill as it appears," 
Delors also expressed the hope, while acknowledging it was 
difficult, that U.S. politicians would become cognizant of 
the EU's potential. 
Please visit Paris' Classified Website at: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm 

Stapleton