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Viewing cable 06PARIS3721, USNATO AMBASSADOR NULAND'S MEETING WITH SOCIALIST

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06PARIS3721 2006-06-05 10:10 2010-12-01 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Paris
VZCZCXRO7599
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHFR #3721/01 1561015
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 051015Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8051
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 003721 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/01/2016 
TAGS: PREL FR NATO EUN
SUBJECT: USNATO AMBASSADOR NULAND'S MEETING WITH SOCIALIST 
PARTY INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS SECRETARY PIERRE MOSCOVICI 


Classified By: Acting Political Counselor Bruce Turner for reasons 1.4 
(B & D). 

1. (C) Summary and comment: Pierre Moscovici, the Socialist 
Party's National Secretary for International Relations, met 
May 29 with visiting Ambassador to NATO Nuland to discuss 
transatlantic relations in the context of France's 2007 
presidential elections. Moscovici insisted that a PS 
Administration -- under a candidate yet to be selected -- 
would be more U.S.-friendly than Chirac, notwithstanding the 
greater emphasis the PS would place on "Europeanizing" French 
foreign policy. France and the U.S. should strive for 
agreement whenever possible, he asserted, even if France can 
never be like the UK -- what he described as "neither Chirac 
nor Blair" -- and should continue talking even when they 
don't agree. He welcomed the warming in transatlantic 
relations since President Bush's visit to Brussels in 2005 
but insisted that divisions between the U.S. and Europe would 
remain, given continuing French concerns about U.S. 
"unilateralist tendencies." The meeting sent a useful signal 
that the U.S. is eager to engage both sides of the political 
aisle on NATO issues, even if Moscovici tended to see the 
transatlantic relationship in terms of the U.S. and the EU. 
End summary and comment. 

2. (C) In a May 29 meeting with visiting Ambassador to NATO 
Victoria Nuland, Socialist Party (PS) National Secretary for 
International Affairs Pierre Moscovici discussed the likely 
positions of a PS administration on transatlantic relations 
if the Socialist candidate wins the 2007 presidential 
elections, while making clear that he could not speak 
authoritatively for the eventual PS presidential candidate. 
Acknowledging at the outset that he was personally close to 
former Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Moscovici 
described the candidate selection in November -- to be 
determined through a vote among the party's rank and file -- 
as a contest between a popular front-runner (Segolene Royal), 
an outsider (former prime minister Lionel Jospin) and two 
insiders (in particular Strauss-Kahn and former Prime 
Minister Laurent Fabius). Moscovici judged that the PS had a 
50-50 chance of winning the elections. 

3. (C) Moscovici noted the first anniversary of France's 
rejection of the EU constitutional treaty. While he rejected 
the notion that the French "no" was the cause of the current 
crisis in Europe, it had nonetheless deepened an already 
existing crisis. He did not expect a renegotiation of the 
treaty until after the 2007 elections, explaining that 
President Chirac's lame-duck status and damaged credibility 
precluded meaningful initiatives in the interim. Moscovici 
attributed French unease with EU enlargement as perhaps the 
major factor in the treaty's rejection, saying that 
enlargement had proceeded too quickly and without sufficient 
debate. Even if one argued that enlargement was "good," it 
could not substitute for the absence of a tangible "project." 
As a vice-president in the European Parliament, he felt he 
could nonetheless state with relative certainty that Romania 
and Bulgaria would join the EU in 2007, although this would 
not occur without some difficult debate. 

4. (C) Turning to U.S.-EU relations, Moscovici regretted 
what he called a wrong U.S. decision to invade Iraq, but he 
welcomed the U.S. stress on renewed partnership since 2005. 
That said, he believed that "unilateral" strains in U.S. 
thinking, combined with divisiveness among the Europeans, 
meant that some frictions in the transatlantic relationship 
would continue. The EU was more regionally focused, he 
judged, as compared with the more global vision of the U.S. 
All that said, it was important for all to understand that 
the U.S. and Europe had no better allies than each other, so 
it was important to make the best of the relationship. There 
was no other real choice. 

5. (C) Moscovici asserted that the PS leadership was 
favorably disposed toward the U.S. and described the PS as 
ultimately less anti-American than Chirac. While it was 
likely to be tougher on questions of principle, he judged 
that the PS would be more flexible in practice. He described 
Chirac as a dogmatist who had pandered too much to domestic 
opinion, and accused Chirac of actively working against the 
U.S. in the run-up to the Iraq war and threatening a veto 
"too early," before the UN had had an opportunity to explore 
all possible avenues. Although the PS was also opposed to 
the Iraq war, he contended that, unlike Chirac, it also would 
not have broken off dialogue with the U.S. Moscovici claimed 
that, historically, French-U.S. relations had been strongest 
when the left was in power, primarily because the PS did not 
hold certain negative attitudes toward the U.S. The PS, he 
said, would base its relations with the U.S. on cool-headed 
analysis rather than emotion, taking into account the bedrock 
values the Europe and America share. 


PARIS 00003721 002 OF 002 


6. (C) Moscovici asserted that France under a PS 
administration would be "neither Blair nor Chirac." France 
viewed itself as fully European, and, unlike the UK, not as a 
bridge between the U.S. and Europe. But it was incumbent on 
the U.S. and France despite certain differences to maintain 
at all times a constructive dialogue. They should strive to 
find agreement whenever possible, he continued, citing 
specifically Darfur, Iran, Afghanistan, and Kosovo, as well 
as France's membership in NATO. Of course, France would 
sometimes oppose U.S. policy, such as on Iraq. Even then, 
however, it would be important to keep talking, without lies 
and dissimulation. The U.S. should also understand that a PS 
administration would want more than the center-right to 
"Europeanize" France's foreign policy. While proud of 
France's status as a UNSC permanent member, the PS understood 
that it could not act on its own and therefore needed ESDP. 
In that regard, speaking personally, Moscovici said he hoped 
France would not only maintain, but increase current defense 
expenditure levels. Ambassador Nuland welcomed French 
leadership in that regard, adding that Europe also needed 
French leadership. She urged Moscovici to view NATO not as a 
U.S.-owned vehicle, but one in which France was also a large 
stakeholder. 

7. (C) Asked about the weight of security policy issues in 
the upcoming elections, Moscovici said that French voters 
were more motivated by domestic concerns. He noted that that 
U.S. emphasis on anti-terrorism was not shared by the French 
public, which did not view itself as a target. Moreover, 
there was currently great skepticism toward the EU as well as 
the U.S., whereby PS voters were generally much more negative 
than the party leadership and would need to be led toward 
more positive attitudes toward the EU and the U.S. Moscovici 
assured Ambassador Nuland that all the main Socialist 
candidates -- Jospin, Strauss-Kahn, and even former Culture 
Minister Jack Lang -- were reasonable and realistic on this 
count. He indicated, however, that he could not speak for 
Segolene Royal, given that her positions on the issues were 
still largely unknown. (Comment: Moscovici is not a 
Segolene Royal supporter. End comment.) 

8. (C) Ambassador Nuland concluded the meeting by extending 
an invitation to the PS presidential candidate's foreign 
policy advisor to visit Brussels and become more personally 
familiar with NATO. Moscovici pledged to remain in touch, 
cautioning that an election team probably would not be formed 
until the end of the year, after the selection of the party's 
candidate. 

9. (C) Comment: In discussing transatlantic relations, 
Moscovici tended to speak in terms of the U.S. and the 
Europe. The meeting nonetheless served a useful purpose in 
sensitizing PS officials to NATO issues and, through 
Ambassador Nuland's active pursuit of a meeting with party 
officials on both sides of the aisle, demonstrated U.S. 
willingness to engage them on NATO in the run-up to the 
presidential elections and beyond. End comment. 

10. (U) This message was cleared by Ambassador Nuland. 

Please visit Paris' Classified Website at: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm 

STAPLETON