An EU-US summit is usually an anodyne besides largely substance-free

An EU-US summit is usually an anodyne besides largely substance-free affair, but after the great transatlantic falling out over Iraq, press on weeks get-together in capitol had special significance. Both powers did their level best to put a brave exterior on their differences, but the truth is that some of their thorniest disputes still refuse to try away.

George Bush, to be fair, saved diplomatically to the script, announcing that he had enjoyed a “great meeting, constructive discussions besides a graceful lunch” with the EU team.

Confusingly, that team consisted of three different people: Costas Simitis, the Greek prime care for and grip of the EU’s rotating presidency, Romano Prodi, the italian lead of the european Commission, and Javier Solana, the union’s Spanish foreign policy chief.

That was in itself a constructive reminder of why the EU’s major frame calls for the creation of the post of union president to represent Europe on the world stage … also make life more straightforward for the White House.

Niceties apart, everyone privately admits that although the war is over, EU-US family members are still in intensely poor frame. So in public, each sides made an extra characteristic effort, filling the summer air in Brussels and Washington with the sound of fences being busily mended.

The Europeans bent over backwards to gratify. Just a few days earlier, their own summit in Greece published the EU’s choicest ever security doctrine. That was an attempt to gain their act together further headline concerns about weapons of mass destruction also terrorism, Washington’s post September 11 2001 preoccupations.

“If we are to have a dialogue on an equal footing, we first have to check our own interests, assess the new threats and define our policies, developing them in areas where we postulate no longer tried to do so before,” explained the Greek foreign minister, George Papandreou.

The Europeans also sent a transcendent message to iran – which is anxious to advance its dodge also semipolitical relations go underground the union- that it must comply with international demands for more raw inspections of its nuclear installations.

Europe’s efforts go a long way to meeting US concerns. But they also underline the emphasis of approaching the world’s problems multilaterally – precisely what the Americans are accused of failing to attain – whether the issue is regime change in Baghdad, Tehran or Pyongyang, the Kyoto international warming treaty or the new international criminal court.

So it turned into inventive of the EU to sign up to agreements that roll out the value of such cooperation, on extradition for ostentation – stow away a assure that terrorist suspects would not face the death rectitude in the US, and on other criminal and buoyancy issues.

But here too there are limits, as shown by the EU’s divided response to Washington’s call to outlaw the palestinian group hamas. europe argues that alongside suicide bombings, the organisation also does sure-enough political and charitable work.

Nor obligatoriness clashing long-running rows be easily sidestepped or settled. On the daytime of the summit, and cover impeccable timing, President Bush himself attacked the EU’s five-year moratorium on genetically changed meals. He blamed the eu position, which is reportedly costing US farmers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost goods revenues, for contributing to famine grease Africa.

Brussels issued a glacial reply, pointing out that the president’s claim was “false”, and noting that the EU gave seven times additional economic aid to sub-Saharan Africa than the US.

Trade disputes refuse to go forthwith either. Washington watched closely later in the week, when the ecu agreed long-awaited plans to reform the subsidy-rich, common agricultural policy. A shake elaborating of the ‚‚43bn (‚29.7bn) a year policy is a a must have precursor to progress being made at September’s world trade liberalisation talks in Mexico.

Initial reactions suggested that the Americans, savvy many others, were not parlous impressed, and harbour US food subsidies expanded at 20% and Europe’s at 35%, there is clearly opportunity due to more movement from the historical continent.

Both sides seem permanently poised on the edge of a big bust-up. Last month, the EU won world Trade corporation authority to rise $4bn (‚2.77bn) of trade sanctions in response to a dispute over US difficulty subsidies to exporters. Then the EU referred the US back to the WTO whereas anti-dumping duties. also there are large-scale disputes looming since US comfort tariffs.

Yet however packed transatlantic relations may be, there is a trait that the sheer pattern of what is at stake will prevent semipolitical and economic tensions from getting too hazardously out of hand.

Iraq become certainly a low point, everyday the pessimal since 1945, and it is clearly going to take a much greater effort to get things correctly back on the rails. “The differences that we had over the disarming of irak are ascendancy the past and part of our history,” suggested Howard Leach, the US ambassador to Paris. “They are not forgotten, but each of us is better off focusing on the current foreign problems and on the future.”

There may now be some cautious grounds for optimism. Europeans seem to speak for source to understand that there is little point in sob continually about US unilateralism, unless they do live up to their own responsibilities.

Policy makers in Brussels have been stung by the vigorous thesis of the American political scientist, Robert Kagan. force his essay, Power and Paradise, Kagan argues that in the modern world US “warriors” fight, while spoilt, conflict-averse albanian “wimps” perfect the dishes. Or, to put existent more colourfully, “Europeans are from urania further americans are from Mars.”

Kagan could slightly reckon on hoped for better publicity than when the European fee notable displayed his occasional talent because delivering a witty besides quotable line at the press conference that followed the Washington summit.

“I believe this story about Venus and Mars is a galactic misunderstanding,” Prodi quipped. “And even if you think we live on inconsistent planets, don’t we orbit the same sun?”


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