U.S., EU Relations Touted

Alain Lamassoure, a European Parliament member hailing from the south of France, stressed the importance of French and European engagement with the United States and said that a new administration in Washington provides the opportunity for a new era of transatlantic relations, at a speech at the Center for European Studies yesterday.

Repeating phrases like “you and us,” Lamassoure’s words were carefully calibrated to make the United States and Europe sound close together, particularly in the event of a victory next week by Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

“If Europe were entitled to vote in your election, 93 percent would vote in favor of one candidate,” said Lamassoure, a former French minister of European affairs, of Obama, whose one-week summer tour through several European countries demonstrated the support the Democrat has abroad.

“We need to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the next American administration to tackle the issues,” Lamassoure added.

He pointed to the diplomatic crisis between Russia and Georgia and problems like global warming and nuclear proliferation as areas where Americans and Europeans could work together.

Lamassoure also said that France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has brought about a significantly more pro-American climate in his country. He noted that Sarkozy has rejected socialism—the president has repeatedly said he admires the Anglo-American economic systems—and that he has announced that “he is a friend of the United States.”

“Before, French leaders tried to show their independence from the United States,” Lamassoure said. “We cannot afford to maintain differences in opinion between both sides of the Atlantic.”

He termed the lack of communication between Europe and the United States on the issue of nuclear proliferation “literally insane.”

Lamassoure added that European powers are increasingly willing to help American efforts in the Middle East.

“We will share the financial, military, political, and human burden. It is so easy for Europe to be spectators and to let the United States do the dirty work. We can agree to do more in Afghanistan,” Lamassoure said. “If we send more troops, we must have more say...We must be a part in the ultimate global negotiations.”