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1995 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Paris

Below is the transcript of Mr Major’s doorstep interview in Paris on Monday 8th May 1995.


INTERVIEWER:

What is your first reaction to the election?

PRIME MINISTER:

Firstly, let me say that I have enjoyed working with President Mitterrand for a number of years now; he is a man of very great courage, he has made a very formidable contribution to his country over many years and I think people will recognise that.

Of course, I look forward to working with Jacques Chirac. I have known him for a number of years. I like him. I think he is a man of very great qualities and I think he will be a fine President of France.

INTERVIEWER:

Now that in Europe we have many more prime ministers, presidents or heads of state who did not really participate in the War, do you think that the arrival of M. Chirac with you and other men of your generation is going to change anything in Europe?

PRIME MINISTER:

Both our countries have a very strong sense of history, there is a continum and although we are essentially post-War - we didn't go through the War as adults - I think the impact of the War has been built into the nations since then so I wouldn't expect any stark and sudden changes but of course policy evolves, the direction of individual countries evolves and of Europe of a whole so of course things will change.

INTERVIEWER:

Do you think that in Europe you are going to have a better understanding with M. Chirac than with M. Mitterrand and his team?

PRIME MINISTER:

I have enjoyed working with President Mitterrand; we have occasionally had our differences, they have always been dealt with with great charm but I think there are many ways in which Jacques Chirac and I will see Europe in the same way and I very much look forward to working with him.

INTERVIEWER:

What kind of man is M. Chirac in your opinion?

PRIME MINISTER:

He is outgoing, he is warm, he is witty. He cares very much about what he does and he acts in response to the things that he most cares about so I think it will be a very exciting time. Working with him will be fun, of that I have no doubt at all.

INTERVIEWER:

With regard to the commemoration which is taking place today in Paris and the role of your country compared to our country during the War, what kind of thoughts do you have?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think what everyone will be thinking about today is that here we are in France, the day after the election of a new President of France, and if Britain, France, the United States and the Allies hadn't worked together, hadn't fought together, hadn't won together, then we would not today, be celebrating the election of a new democratic President of France so I think we will look back at what the previous generation achieved in order that this generation and subsequent generations can live the sort of democratic life we have become used to. We owe a very great deal to that generation.