French minister moots Transatlantic Treaty
12.07.2004 - 08:52 CET | By Richard Carter
A transatlantic treaty should be signed to reinvigorate EU-US ties, the French foreign minister Michel Barnier has proposed, according to Le Figaro.
Speaking at the 30th anniversary of a foreign affairs think tank in Paris, Mr Barnier said that in the post Cold-war world, the transatlantic relationship has become a "choice rather than a necessity".
However, ties still need to be better organised to avoid spats like the one that occurred over Iraq, he argued and he proposed that "a treaty could seal this renewed union".
The idea of a new transatlantic treaty is not new - it was first proposed by the then foreign minister Alain Juppé ten years ago.
"The last ten years have taken nothing away from its relevance", said Mr Barnier. "In fact the opposite is true".
The proposal comes as Franco-US relations continue to be shaky.
Although far removed from the depths plumbed during the Iraq war, ties remain uneasy, with French President Jacques Chirac recently criticising US President George Bush in public for taking a stance over Turkey's eventual membership of the EU.
And Paris also recently annoyed the US by opposing the use of NATO troops in Iraq during a recent meeting.