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View Full Version : Old Europe lines up for 'face-time' with Bush



Bluebird
20-02-2005, 14:06
Talking about Bush in,"Bush is rolling into Moscow, " though....Here's something from today's Financial Times:

Old Europe lines up for 'face-time' with Bush. www.ft.com

Less than two years ago Brussels was the venue for a defence summit bringing together what the New York Post dubbed "the Axis of Weasels": an anti-Iraq war coalition of the unwilling comprising Belgium, France, Germany and Luxembourg.

It was a statement of hostile intent, although militarily the White House had little to fear. Officials in the Bush administration mocked the "chocolate soldier" pretensions of the summit, which hoped to develop Europe's military muscle.

If that Brussels summit marked a low point in transatlantic relations, next week's summit in the self-styled European capital threatens to turn into something of a gooey reconciliation.

Europeans are so eager to impress the president during his two-day visit to Brussels - they are even closing down most of the EU administration to ensure his security - it is all getting a bit embarrassing.

"If ridicule could kill, there would be bodies piling up in the streets of Brussels," said Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg, whose tiny country holds the EU's presidency.

Mr Juncker was despairing of the petty squabbling which has broken out in the 25 member club - and among its institutions - as everyone tries to get face time with a president some of them still privately loathe.

It is a sign of the efforts being made on both sides that Mr Bush will devote most of his time to meetings with the same "weasels" who most opposed his war effort.

While Tony Blair, British prime minister, only gets to see the president for croissants on Tuesday, Jacques Chirac, French president, is treated to dinner on Monday night.

Belgium gets the full presidential treatment, as Mr Bush kicks off his Brussels tour on Monday with a meeting with King Albert II and Guy Verhofstadt, the prime minister. Gerhard Schröder, German chancellor, holds talks with him in Mainz on Wednesday.

Aside from the private meetings, European leaders have been engaged in some unseemly jockeying for the chance to say a few words during a 90-minute EU-US summit on Tuesday afternoon.

The last time Mr Bush attended such a meeting, at Gothenburg in Sweden in 2001, his eyes glazed over as each EU leader gave a three-minute speech.

This time he will hear speeches from selected "lead speakers", with Mr Blair talking about the Middle East, Mr Schröder on Iran and Mr Chirac - who famously told the EU's new pro-US eastern members to "shut up" over Iraq - on European unity.

Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's prime minister, was initially left off the list, and was added only at the last minute after complaints from Rome; he will speak on the need for European economic reform, a subject his country is often criticised for ignoring.

Mr Bush will also spend time with his old friend José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, the former Portuguese prime minister who hosted a pre-Iraq war summit in a military hut on the Azores.

Mr Bush, however, will not be meeting Europe's third president: Josep Borrell, the Spanish socialist president of the European parliament, who has been told by EU members not to bother coming.

Mr Borrell invited Mr Bush to speak to the assembly but did not get a reply. On Friday night he wrote to Mr Juncker trying to gatecrash the event.

Mr Borrell's enthusiasm for meeting the president contrasts with his contempt for him over the Iraq conflict, which he once described as an "illegal war based on lies". But like everyone else in Brussels, it seems he feels the time has come to move on.

koba65
20-02-2005, 14:27
Spineless pyschophants show that their opposition to the war was superficial....

Bluebird
20-02-2005, 14:43
Originally posted by koba65
Spineless pyschophants show that their opposition to the war was superficial.... Europeans are so eager to impress the president during his two-day visit to Brussels - they are even closing down most of the EU administration to ensure his security - it is all getting a bit embarrassing.

"If ridicule could kill, there would be bodies piling up in the streets of Brussels," said Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg, whose tiny country holds the EU's presidency.

There are important trade issues to discuss, with the US president, which the Europens would like to get back on track; after the war of words and rhetoric, over Iraq.

For example, I'm sure the French would like to start selling their wines, in the US, again. There were many trade boycotts, with European countries, over this issue.
:cool:

Crazyeelboy
20-02-2005, 14:48
I'd like to see what they are willing to do to support the development of Iraqi stability. We can make room on the bandwagon.