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To some extent that is true that the British see themselves as having to fight for what they want from Europe, but perhaps that perception is based on some reality?

Victory for Britain in this case means getting something in return for agreeing to reduce the Rebate.  This isn't just a strike at France, but the current structure of spending in the entire EU.  You showed us the projected future contributions assuming the rebate, but what would it look like without.  I was looking at the projections with and without for 2003 in The Economist, it makes it pretty clear what Britain is worried about.

Why does France want to beat the UK, but not the Germans (is that what you meant)?  I get that sense as well and I think that my British friends think that Germany and France are aligned to make things difficult for Britain.  How can a leader ask another country to sacrifice and then stonewall when his own country is ask to do similarly?

The only international crime is losing a war

by Luam (uretskyj at gmail.com) on Sun Jun 26th, 2005 at 03:03:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We don't want to beat the UK, we just defend ourselves against the way they play the game, i.e. as a zero-sum game, which Europe patently is not. We fight the Germans, but we do not need to worry about zero-sum games with them (as when we do, like Chirac in Nice in 1999, the results are catastrophic for all).

As you know, I think that europe will only get anywhere when France and/or Germany and the UK finally decide to stop sniping at each other and force themselves to compromise. any compromise between France and the UK is likely to be acceptable to most, as they represent widely opposite views of what to do.

But there is no will to force a compromise, like there is between the French and the Germans (who, remember, disagree about pretty much everything, but force themselves to talk and find common ground). Only sniping and blaming and stone walling. This is pathetic.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 26th, 2005 at 03:43:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't feel like I have a sense of what is going on in France in response to Chirac's call for an end of the British Rebate, and the budget talks.  From the British press it really just seemed like an attempt to wind the British up and distract everyone from the failure of the referendum.

Are the French glad that the Rebate was put on the table?  At all surprised that Blair didn't just give in?  Surprised that Chirac was unwilling to compromise?  Is there really a consensus that Blair should just yield a bit of the Rebate without any concessions in return?

To me it didn't seem like diplomacy but an attempt at showmanship.  So far as I can tell, Blair won on the exchange, but may be forced to pay for it when he tries to put forward his agenda as EU president now that he has to deal with the budget as well.  Blair offered a compromise and immediately France and Germany joined together and declared it unworthy of consideration.

The only international crime is losing a war

by Luam (uretskyj at gmail.com) on Sun Jun 26th, 2005 at 04:13:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The French press has been highly critical of Chirac and sees the rebate debate as a distraction from domestic issues and his overall failure as a President. But while there is a lot of questioning (of the "what could we learn form the British model" kind), there is little trust in Blair's commitment to Europe. The conclusion was that he may get his way despite his pretty universally disliked ideas because of the weakness and stupidity of Chirac and Schroeder.

The focus has now switched back to domestic issues - and the heat wave.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 26th, 2005 at 04:34:35 PM EST
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