My gut tells me there’s a bit of inevitability about reforming the EU’s ridiculous farm subsidies, so it surprises me that Mikulas Dzurinda, Slovakia’s PM, is
only the first of the 24 one of the first of the many EU leaders lined up against Britain to break ranks. ?I am for reforms,? Dzurinda declared.
Meanwhile Blair is still talking tough, telling the European Parliament
yesterday today that the EU risks “failure on a grand strategic scale.” (See also The Guardian‘s coverage on the speech.)
Sueddeutsche Zeitung believes that
President Chirac is in a far stronger position than Tony Blair, pointing out that there was unanimous agreement on the current system of agriculture subsidies in 2002.
This just strikes me as an odd thing to say. It seems to me the French and Dutch rejections have strengthened Blair’s hand immeasurably. But what do I know.
Timothy Garton Ash may not be terribly impressed with yesterday’s speech. Earlier this month he advised Blair against grand gestures and sweeping rhetoric:
No, the wise course for the British presidency is to behave in quite un-Blair-like fashion, in order to achieve the final, strategic triumph of Blairism. No missionary preaching. No headline-grabbing prime-ministerial initiatives. Instead: quiet, patient behind-the-scenes diplomacy and European-style consensus-building.
Hm. We’ll see.
In a column today (apparently written before
yesterday’s today’s speech), T.G.A. takes both Chirac and Blair to task, calling the French-British rivalry “ridiculous, damaging, demeaning and pathetic.”
So many bad words!
UPDATE: “Across Europe, Blair’s vision of a changed EU gains support.” The momentum is already his, it seems.