Bush re-election 'no strain' on France-US ties

8th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (AFP) - President George W. Bush's re-election has not aggravated US relations with France and Germany, according to a US public policy organisation's report on a poll on transatlantic relations released Monday.

WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (AFP) - President George W. Bush's re-election has not aggravated US relations with France and Germany, according to a US public policy organisation's report on a poll on transatlantic relations released Monday.

"There can be little doubt that the transatlantic rift that developed during the lead-up to the war in Iraq is still present," the German Marshall Fund of the United States, which studies US-European relations, wrote in a report accompanying the post-US election poll.

"Yet, the re-election of President George W. Bush, whose decisions are often viewed as the primary reason for this rift, does not seem to have put any further strain on US-European relations, at least not at the level of public opinion."

The fund pointed to its survey showing that 65 percent of French citizens and 57 percent of Germans said they do not want Washington to take a strong role in world affairs, but the figures were eight and three percentage points better, respectively, than in June 2004.

Still, half of the German and French citizens surveyed said US-European relations would get worse with Bush's re-election on November 2, with 34 percent saying ties would improve.

Plus, only 11 percent of people in the two European countries said they approve of Bush's handling of international policies.

However, people on both sides of the Atlantic voiced interest in improving ties.

A plurality of Americans (38 percent), French citizens (37 percent) and Germans (43 percent) agreed that the best way for Washington to improve relations would be to commit more to diplomacy instead of quickly using the military to solve international crises.

Forty percent of Americans said France and Germany could improve relations with Washington by contributing to building a stronger European military capability to ease the US military's burden, an opinion shared by 48 percent of French citizens and 20 percent of Germans.

However, more Germans (29 percent) said Berlin should instead contribute troops to help with Iraq's reconstruction and security in an effort to improve transatlantic ties.

The German Marshall Fund is a US public policy and grant-making institution dedicated to promoting greater cooperation and understanding between the United States and Europe.

About 1,000 Americans, 1,002 French citizens and 1,002 Germans were interviewed by telephone for the survey conducted between November 11 and December 5. It has a three percentage point margin of error.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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