Interview given by M. Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic (May 2007)
Paris, May 2007
Q. – Aside from the European Union, what must our long-term objectives be in the international arena ?
FOREIGN POLICY OBJECTIVES
THE PRESIDENT – The first is to ensure the security and independence of France and the French, as well as of our friends and our allies. Because our interests are worldwide, our responsibility is global. Our security interests can no longer be separated from those of Europe and of our partners who share our destiny and values. Faced with the new threats, such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation and ecological disorder, cooperation is the key to success. Our second major objective must be to promote internationally the universal values of freedom, observance of human rights and respect for human dignity, since France is really herself only when she embodies freedom from oppression, and reason to combat chaos. Finally, the third major objective of our foreign policy is to promote our economic and commercial interests to make France stronger in the globalized world.
ATLANTIC ALLIANCE/EUROPEAN DEFENCE
Q. – On security, in particular, people sometimes see the Atlantic Alliance as incompatible with Defence Europe. Do you think it is ?
THE PRESIDENT – That approach is unproductive. Europeans, like Americans, need both of them. They complement each other. Of NATO’s 26 members, 21 are members of the European Union. Of the EU’s 27 countries, 21 are members of NATO. But we must ensure with our European partners that NATO doesn’t mutate towards becoming a global organization carrying out missions in the area between military, humanitarian and international police activities. NATO has no remit to become a rival to the UN.
Q. – You’ve been criticized at times for being too close to George W. Bush’s administration. How do you answer your detractors ?
THE PRESIDENT – I tell them it’s a quarrel over nothing. The friendship between Europe and the United States is a necessity for global balance. It is deep, sincere and unwavering. But friendship also means standing by one’s friends when they need you and being capable of telling them the truth when they’re wrong. Friendship also means respect, understanding and affection, but not submission. Friendship is genuine only if one is free. I want a free France and a free Europe. I ask our American friends to let us be free – free to be their friends.