RELATIONS between Britain and France face a difficult few weeks. An EU summit meeting later this month will see a return to France and Germany's plans for an economic and budgetary Treaty which Britain is strongly opposed to and France will press the case for early introduction of the so-called Tobin Tax on financial transactions which is also anathema to Britain. The bi-lateral meeting between Britain and France cancelled in December because of the euro-zone crisis has been re-scheduled for February.
In Paris on Thursday the French foreign minister Alain Juppe held a briefing meeting for British journalists at which he tried to look at positive aspects of the relationship between the two countries, among them successful military cooperation over Libya, a common view on handling the Iranian and Syrian crises, and the provisions of the Lancaster House agreement for sharing of nuclear and conventional force capabilities. M. Juppe is a diplomat of the old school but is also one of President Sarkozy's closest advisors and he admitted that David Cameron's veto at the December EU summit had been a moment of truth for France. He commented: We don't have the same conception about the evolution of the EU. It's not new, it's been so for half a century and is hardening today. One could almost hear President de Gaulle's voice adding, I told you so.