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1993 - Mr Major’s Comments on Anglo-French Relations

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on Anglo-French relations, made during an interview held in Paris on Friday 28th May 1993.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if the UK and France were becoming closer].

PRIME MINISTER:

Our relationship with Paris has been improving over some years and I am very pleased about that. It is very good now. I think the relationship between the United Kingdom and France is as good at the moment as I can remember for very many years and I am delighted at that and I wish to see the extent to which we can extend that. I know that is the Prime Minister’s view; it is also the President’s view and a matter we have discussed in the past, so I’m very pleased with the relationship. It is good and it is getting better.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if it was easier with a French Conservative Prime Minister].

PRIME MINISTER:

I am very much at ease with Prime Minister Balladur. I was very much at ease with his predecessors as well. Pierre Beregovoy in particular was a friend of mine and so I was very much at ease with him.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked in what areas could the French and British work closer together].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think across a whole range of issues. We have discussed this morning areas where we might do work to examine the common position in the interests of the European Community as a whole. We are looking together for example at subsidiarity, what it means, how to develop it, where to apply it. Certainly, we have a joint interest as members of the Security Council - the Permanent Five - a whole range of issues there where I wish to work very closely with France. In terms of defence co-operation, France and the United Kingdom are the only two nuclear powers in Western Europe so we have a very real series of areas where we need to work very closely and that is what we are seeking to do.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if the Anglo-French relationship would become as strong as the Anglo-German relationship].

PRIME MINISTER:

We are not seeking to change in any way the relationship between Paris and Bonn. It is very close, it is very good, it is historical and it is a good thing for the whole of Europe, but I am seeking to make sure that we have a very close relationship as well with Paris and also with Bonn. I think that is in the interest of the Community.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if he thought the French would agree to sign the GATT agreement on agriculture].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think there was great progress made amongst the agriculture ministers the other day and I congratulate all of them on the part they played in ensuring that happened. It looks to me like a very balanced agreement. It has to be confirmed in the next few days - I think early in June - and I very much hope that it is. I think that does help us move towards an agreement on the Uruguay Round as a whole though there are still many obstacles to overcome. Some of those obstacles of course don’t relate to the Community, don’t relate to agriculture. There are problems to be overcome for example with Japan and American problems as well but I think it is a step forward and I welcome that.