by Jerome a Paris
Mon Jun 20th, 2005 at 03:01:06 AM EST
This cartoon from Le Monde's Gorce:
we should rebuild our union on our fundamental shared value: selfishness
And this article highly critical of Blair in the Financial Times:
Wolfgang Munchau: Blair has damaged Europe
Taking a step back from the heat of last week’s gruelling two-day European Union summit, what is remarkable is how many political priorities some countries are willing to sacrifice in exchange for such a small sum of money.
For €2.5bn Mr Blair will be sacrificing at least four political goals that seemed to be important to the UK.
- The first is future enlargement of the EU. (...) The extent of the continental European backlash against enlargement is still underestimated in the UK.
- The second consequence of Mr Blair’s decision is a fundamental shift in political alliances within the EU. The east Europeans feel let down by Britain. (...)Mr Blair’s diplomacy has driven them into the arms of Jacques Chirac, the French president.
- Third, Mr Blair’s agenda for economic reform in Europe is also likely to get derailed. (...) Mr Blair’s veto will not even accelerate reform of the Common Agricultural Policy;
- Fourth, the decision makes it almost impossible for the next generation of political leaders in continental Europe – Angela Merkel in Germany, Nicolas Sarkozy in France – to form a strategic alliance with Mr Blair.
Blair had a unique opportunity to fill a political vacuum left by weak leadership in the EU. But Mr Blair has chosen to give up this chance in exchange for a paltry €2.5bn a year and a few cheers from the UK’s tabloid press.
I have no doubt that Europe will eventually heal the multiple wounds it has inflicted on itself in the last few weeks. The one good thing about this episode is that it has brought old and new Europe closer together. But no matter how the EU chooses to fix its deepest crisis ever – through a relaunch of the constitution, a redefinition of its policy priorities or through a move towards core Europe – it is difficult to see how the UK can play a central part in any solution now.
Wolfgang Munchau has been an astute observer and commenter of the EU scene, and he has not pulled his punches against the sclerotic French and German "leaders", so this carries some weight (as does, in a more arcane way, the fact that this is being promoted by the FT both on its paper edtition and on its website).
Yep, we have pathetic leaders all around.