Nicolas Sarkozy should apologise for French Minister Pierre Lellouche's anti-British rant

Nile Gardiner is a Washington-based foreign affairs analyst
and political commentator. He appears frequently on American
and British television and radio, including
Fox News Channel, CNN, BBC, Sky News, and NPR.

By  Nile Gardiner  

Pierre Lellouche, the outspoken French
Europe Minister, has ironically made
the strongest case yet from across
the Channel for a referendum
on the future of Britain's relationship with Europe.
His bizarre and hugely insulting rant
following David Cameron's unveiling yesterday
of the Tories' strategy on Europe underscores
exactly why the British public should
be given the ultimate say over Britain's relationship
with the EU – and the opportunity to
emphatically reject the kind of sneering
hectoring from over-zealous European officials
who are driven by a hatred
of Anglo-Saxon global dominance.

Who does Pierre Lellouche think he is
lecturing the British people over how
they should conduct their own foreign policy?
What gives him the right to dictate
the future direction of a sovereign nation?
It is exactly the kind of Gallic arrogance
displayed by M. Lellouche that has
prompted a wave of revulsion in the UK
over the prospect of the poisonous
Treaty of Lisbon coming into force.
The next Prime Minister should
take note – this is just the shape of things
to come once the revived EU Constitution
is enacted and British sovereignty
is further eroded.

Here are Lellouche's comments as

quoted by the Guardian:

"It's pathetic. It's just very sad to see Britain,

so important in Europe, just cutting itself out

from the rest and disappearing from the radar map ….

This is a culture of opposition …

It is the result of a long period of opposition.

I know they will come back, but I hope

the trip will be short…

They are doing what they have done

in the European parliament. They have essentially

castrated your UK influence in

the European parliament."

"I have told William Hague: go away for two

to three years, in your political economic situation

you're going to be all by your self and

you'll come back. Go ahead and do it.

That is my message to them …

You want to be marginalised?

Well, you go for it.

But it's a waste of time for all of us."

"It's not going to happen for a minute.

Nobody is going to indulge in rewriting

[treaties for] many, many years.

Nobody is going to play with

the institutions again. It's going to be

take it or leave it and they should

be honest and say that.

"It is a time of tumultuous waters

all around us. Wars, terrorism, proliferation,

Afghanistan, energy with Russia,

massive immigration, economic crisis.

It is time when the destiny

of Europe is being defined – whether or

not we will exist as a third

of the world's GDP capable of fighting

it out on climate, on trade, on every …

issue on the surface of the Earth."

"We need to be united, otherwise we will

be wiped out and marginalised.

None of us can do it alone. Whether you're big

or small, the lesson is the same.

And [Britain's] risk is one

of marginalisation. Irrelevance. Finally we have

institutional package, but it took 15 years of looking

at our navel and getting everybody

bored to death with sterile debate".

French President Nicolas Sarkozy should

issue an apology for the offensive

and downright rude comments of one

of his own senior ministers.

Frankly, there is something rather pathetic

about a representative of

the French government lecturing Britain

on being marginalised and irrelevant.

This from a country that refuses to send

a single additional soldier to

the battlefields of Afghanistan,

humiliatingly kowtows to the Russian bear,

and can barely make an international decision

without the permission of its larger neighbour in Berlin.

It's not hard to see why Paris is pushing

so hard for the new EU Constitution – after all

it is far easier to mask your own decline

as a nation under the cover

of a European superstate.

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