French press gives Blair victory over Chirac

20th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 18 (AFP) - The EU summit in Brussels was a "Franco-British" war in which President Jacques Chirac was trounced by Prime Minister Tony Blair on the ruins of the European Union, the French press said on Saturday.

PARIS, June 18 (AFP) - The EU summit in Brussels was a "Franco-British" war in which President Jacques Chirac was trounced by Prime Minister Tony Blair on the ruins of the European Union, the French press said on Saturday.  

The summit which collapsed in chaos in the early hours was seen as a duel between Chirac and Blair recalling the historic defeats for France of Waterloo and Trafalgar in the Napoleonic wars.  

"Our people have confronted each other for 1,000 years," said France Soir.  

Those tensions, it wrote, have ended in Europe's "great divorce", and "the weakening of Jacques Chirac" by the French rejection of the EU constitution which "put Tony Blair in a position of strength."  

"It is Europe that suffered through Waterloo on this June 18," wrote the left-leaning daily Liberation, noting that the summit closed in the small hours on the anniversary of that great battle 190 years ago not far from Brussels.  

"Blair aboard", read its headline. "The idea of a European constitution has been set back indefinitely," lamented its editorial.  

Further left, the communist L'Humanite railed: "The European Council is mocking us!"

"The euro-liberals have dug up a 'Plan D' for denial of democracy," a reference to the 'Plan B' that was never prepared in case the constitution failed, it said.  

Le Figaro, in its on-line edition, recalled Chirac's warning that France should not become the "black sheep" of the 25-member bloc.  

"In this context, it is important for him not to become closed off in what would appear to be a quarrel between the old and the new."  

It was Blair who came in for special treatment in all the smaller dailies.  

"You can't call him the 'Iron Man' yet but he can bitterly defend his patch," wrote La Provence in an editorial in reference to Britain's former premier, 'Iron Lady' Margaret Thatcher.  

But it begrudgingly acknowledged that Blair was part of the "legitimate nouveau riche" and that he "really humiliated President Chirac."  

L'Union, based in Reims, east of Paris, said the British leader was "intransigent and intractable", calling him a "petulant, tight-fisted Labourite" who was dressed "in a Thatcherite suit in the worst-possible taste."  

All that was missing from the show, its editorial writer, said "was Punch's big stick to make his partners dance to the metronomic beat of Big Ben."  

In the country's biggest and most respected regional paper, Ouest-France, editorial writer Francois Regis expressed deep concern over the seriousness of the crisis that the 25-member bloc was now facing.  

"Now is the time, once again, for the great voices to rise and remind everyone that a failure does not have to mean the end of a project, as General (Charles) de Gaulle ... once proclaimed amid widespread despair."  

© AFP

Subject: French News

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