Insults fly as France, UK and Germanycut agreement on EU constitution

19th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, May 18 (AFP) - German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer played down a reported spat with Britain Tuesday over alleged "salami" tactics in an EU constitution haggle.

BRUSSELS, May 18 (AFP) - German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer played down a reported spat with Britain Tuesday over alleged "salami" tactics in an EU constitution haggle.

But his French counterpart Michel Barnier was less retiring, following up a reported clash between the Franco-German couple and Britain's Jack Straw by issuing a barbed mosquito jibe at London.

"Nobody here is a problem," said the German minister over the head-to-head in which Fischer reportedly accused Britain of trying to squeeze further small concessions from its EU partners slice by slice.

"We have differing interests and perspectives," he said. "The discussion was orderly, calm and focussed on the facts."

Straw also sought to make light of the spat, telling BBC radio: "Germans are more used to salamis than British foreign secretaries."

Barnier however took another gentle stab at London. "Jack Straw said he had the impression that we all had it in for him," and that that he felt assailed by "mosquitos," he told reporters in Brussels.

"I replied that there are also such things as tse-tse flies," which risk putting Europe to sleep, the French minister said.

The exchanges came on the second day of talks among EU foreign ministers aimed at hammering out a first-ever constitution for the expanded bloc by next
month.

© AFP

Subject: French news

 

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