For a Union of the West

In 2009, the Streit Council translated and, with Hoover Institution Press, published the book "For a Union of the West between the United States and Europe" by former French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur. In the book, Balladur, a long-time mentor of current President Sarkozy, proposed upgrading the US-EU summits into an "Executive Council" aimed creating a customs union, fiscal and legal neighborhood policies, and EMS-style currency coordination. This would expansion of the present program, the US-EU Transatlantic Economic Council. He also suggests the US-EU Council be used for foreign policy coordination across the full range of global issues.

In this book, the former Prime Minister of France put an ambitious perspective before Europe and America: to combine their forces for a Union of the West, building on their existing arrangements for unity and setting aside their differences. As Asian powers emerge and the global balance shifts, a Union of the West is needed to absorb the shocks, stabilize the world order, and maintain the Western roles that are still indispensable for global security and prosperity.  Balladur offers a series of practical steps to build a Union of the West.  His proposals take on added importance now that his protégé, Nicolas Sarkozy, has come to hold the presidency of France and, for a time, of the European Union as well.

More specifically the main ideas from Balladur include:

1.  A transatlantic Executive Council, formed by upgrading the US-EU Summits to four times a year, developing ministerial substructures, and establishing a secretariat and other support bodies for it. (Regarding its powers and structures, he acknowledges a spectrum of options, but expects to start relatively small: "There would already be immense progress even if a weak organization were to be formed, and even if neither Europeans nor Americans could make any decision regarding common interests without preliminary discussions.  If the attempt were successful, then the Union of the West could go further.")

2.  A dollar-euro exchange rate stabilization system similar to the 1986 Louvre accords, but made more enduring by institutionalizing it as the EMS had been, with the Fed and ECB controlling the margins of fluctuation, and coordinated economic and budgetary policies.

3.  Capping the existing program set by the US-EU Summit last year (a Transatlantic Economic Council, to harmonize regulations and "complete the trans-Atlantic market") by gradual creation of a genuine common trans-Atlantic market including a customs union, and the adoption of neighborhood policies for fiscal, legal, and trade matters.

4. Closer foreign policy coordination across the full range of global issues.

5. An updated NATO mission statement and strategic concept, including specification of the conditions of its intervention outside of its traditional geographic sphere, and rules for members to intervene using NATO resources without the agreement of all allies.

Click here
to see John Vinocur's review of the book in The New York Times.

Click here to see David G. Wagner's review of the book.

Biography

Edouard Balladur was Prime Minister of France in the early 1990s; he brought about extensive market reforms as Minister of the Economy in the 1980s. He has been a leader within the Gaullist movement for many decades.  He is credited with having drawn the mainstream of French Gaullists back into a pro-European Union stance and into abandoning anti-American attitudes.  He has often been called the mentor of Nicolas Sarkozy, now President of France, who had been spokesman for Balladur and rose within Balladur's wing of the Gaullist movement.  It has been written in the International Herald Tribune that Balladur expresses in his book the "underlying premise" of Sarkozy's policies. Edouard Balladur is an independent thinker.