German Chancellor Angela Merket came out strongly against the vision of French President Nicolas Sarkozy for creation of a Mediterranean Union. She considered his idea “very dangerous” to the future of the European Union since it would create another union, only this time it would be led by France, not Europe. In a sarcastic aside, she wondered if Germany should establish an Eastern European Union with nations like the Ukraine. Merkel was concerned that creating separate blocs split the essential core concept of a European Union in which all members shared equally in expanding the boundaries of concern for other nations. “One thing has to be clear,” she said, “Northern Europeans also share responsibility for the Mediterranean, just as the future of the borders with Russia and the Ukraine is an issue that concerns those living on the Mediterranean.”
On Wednesday, Sarkozy speaking in Algeria said he wanted France and Algeria to form the axis of a future Mediterranean Union that would stretch from Morocco to Turkey and include at least seven EU nations. One can only wonder if Sarkozy is proposing an end run around the application of Turkey for membership in the European Union, something that concerns many of its members because it would dramatically increase the number of Muslims in the Union. The Sarkozy gambit may simply be another manifestation of his desire for the limelight and going it alone in order to create controversy.