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Blair vs Chirac Who is to blame?

  1. Jun 20, 2005 #1

    Art

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    The recent EU summit finished without any agreement on Britain's rebate, farm subsidies and future EU spending or direction. At the conclusion of the meeting both factions headed by Blair and Chirac held press conferences where each side blamed the other for the impasse. Some less than diplomatic language was used with Chirac accusing the British position as being "tragic" and "pathetic" whilst the British accused the French of being "bizarre". So who do you think is right in this latest dustup between these ancient foes? Is this a deep crisis for the EU as stated by the Luxembourg premier or is it simply a smokescreen to deflect attention away from the failed constitution and the recent 'No' votes in France and the Netherlands?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 20, 2005 #2
    Chirac is to blame. He has political problems at home in france and is trying to win points by getting rid of the british rebate - meaning more to france. Even with the rebate britain pays much more than france to the EU. CAP just involves the british / dutch/ germans paying for french/ spanish/ greek farmers. If the countries which benefit from this really want subsidised farming, they should pay for it out of their own taxes, and politicians can run for elections in their countries for it instead of it coming straight from the EU.
    If not then the dutch and germans also deserve a rebate.
     
  4. Jun 20, 2005 #3

    vanesch

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    Although what you say is correct, I think they both deserve some spanking, because they have the wrong mind set: the point is that one should not make national accounts: if everybody takes exactly as much, moneywise, out of the EU as it puts in, it is a zero operation and you can just as well close up the EU. The point is that everybody should put money in some common pool, which is then used for 2 goals: 1) doing things in the general interest of all ; 2) allow for some solidarity.
    It is on this level that the behaviour was shameful ! What a terrible welcome this is for the new, slightly poorer but enthousiastic members of the EU ! They see two wealthy lions fight for the big pieces. Where is there any solidarity here ?

    What's the purpose of the EU to you ?

    However, there is something to it, but one cannot let this be done on national levels: you would get a subsidies-war: if the Italian tomatoes are subsided 40% then the French will want to give 45% of subsidies to make them competitive, which will induce the Spanish to push it up to 50% etc....
    However, you could indeed foresee a separate bookkeeping for the PAC: all nations wanting to subscribe to it, fund it (no other state subventions would be allowed, than those going through the PAC), and common rules of usage are then established. If, say, Britain doesn't want to participate in it, it just doesn't. If france wants to, it just steps in and pays its dues. It would be its only way to subsidise its own farmers, but should play by the common rules set out by the PAC members. The actual situation is that all countries are PAC members.

    EDIT: this is probably an interesting read:

    http://www.eu.int/comm/financial_perspective/questions/index_en.htm#noagreement
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2005
  5. Jun 20, 2005 #4

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    Blair presented his position to the British parliament today. The main points are;
    1) Blair is willing to increase Britain's contribution but only as part of a renegotiation on the entire EU budget.
    2) He does not see the logic behind 40% of the EU budget being directed to 5% of the EU population who produce just 2% of the EU's economic output.
    3) He thinks it is wrong and unfair that 80% of EU handouts goes to the richest members of the EU club.
    4) He objects to EU export subsidies that hurt developing countries.
    5) He believes the vision and direction of europe needs to be debated as it is his belief EU money should be spent on education and science and technology to enable europe to compete against the other major world trading blocs.
    He intends to appeal directly to the european parliament to gain wider support for his european vision in the near future.

    Anybody know what Chirac's position is? All you see here on the news reports is simply that French farmers subsidies are not up for discussion. Is there more depth to Chirac's argument than this?
     
  6. Jun 20, 2005 #5

    vanesch

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    Although all this is nice and well (I agree of course with all he proposes), isn't it a bit of a pity that he must say that a few days before (or after!) the Counsil. This sounds like hypocrisy to me - maybe I'm wrong, but Juncker said that anyone, proposing to put the entire budget on the floor and renegociate the entire setup ON THE EVENING OF THE COUNSIL is someone who is in fact heading for failure: it takes months of negociation to do so !

    http://www.eu2005.lu/en/actualites/communiques/2005/06/17jcl-pf/index.html

    Chirac has no position, except trying to stay president in the elections of 2007 - he needs this to stay out of prison, so he needs the support of the farmers...
    The French no-vote probably took away all ambition for him to have a European vision, and now he's just trying to get as much internal "horrays" as he can.
     
  7. Jun 21, 2005 #6

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    Blair spoke about this in his address to parliament. He claimed it was a nonsensical accusation thrown at him by France and Luxemburg. He said what Britain had looked for was a firm written commitment to review the entire EU budget within the next year or two. Otherwise, he said, if he signed up to what was currently on the table it would commit the EU's expenditure and direction until the year 2014. During this renegotiation he said he would put Britain's rebate on the table.
    France and Luxemburg wanted Britain to give up or freeze it's rebate immediately and then they would consider the need for new budget negotiations later. This was rejected by Britain as meaningless not least because France also stated that they thought the way for the EU to go forward was to actually increase the CAP subsidies.

    How is this playing in the French media?
     
  8. Jun 21, 2005 #7

    vanesch

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    Chirac is highly criticised:

    http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3224,36-663999@51-664190,0.html


    where it is stated that Chirac doesn't dare to take any decision anymore, has no ideas left, doesn't know himself where he's heading, is on a historical low of his popularity and leaves everything to his newly nominated prime minister (de Villepin) who, himself, is fighting with the minister of internal affairs (Sarkozy) who is probably the rival of Chirac for the presidential elections in 2007, and in:

    and:

    http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3214,36-663672,0.html

    where it is stated that Blair is a much finer strategist to be the new strong man in Europe than Chirac, who completely missed to foresee what would happen.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2005
  9. Jun 21, 2005 #8
    They're both utter holes, but Blair wants to give little and take little, while Chirac wants to give a little more and take the lot! Britain is no more deserving of a rebate than many other EU countries, and I'd hoped for some comprimise (it is quite a lot, after all), but I agree with Blair's main points. The EU budget is in dire need of review, and Chirac's fingers-in-ears position demonstrates this unfairness as well as anything Blair might say.
     
  10. Jun 21, 2005 #9

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    I wonder for how long though. The British mass media is still pushing hard for Blair to stand aside in favour of Gordon Brown. Probably because the traditional Tory press believes Brown is more beatable in an election.
     
  11. Jun 21, 2005 #10
    I think it's more a case of being able to vote Labour without feeling guilty.
     
  12. Jun 21, 2005 #11

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    The media push to replace Blair with Brown began long before the Iraq war. Tactically I think Labour would do best to leave Blair in charge until about 6 months before the next general election. This allows Blair to absorb the flak over the more controversial issues, gives Brown time to settle in and doesn't allow the press time to do an about turn and start attacking Brown without looking ridiculous.
     
  13. Jun 22, 2005 #12

    vanesch

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    It only occured to me right now, but that's a win-win deal for Blair. He's indeed one hell of a politician: he proposes in fact the choice between:

    1) sign the current budget if it is accepted to renegociate everything in the coming 2 years

    OR

    2) not sign the current budget, in which case one will need to renegociate it before 2007, so, in the 2 coming years

    Did Blair follow courses with a certain Margareth ? :rolleyes:
     
  14. Jun 22, 2005 #13

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    I doubt Blair had the same teachers as Thatcher as I don't think M. Thatcher ever negotiated anything in her life. She just ordered and expected to be obeyed. :smile: At least Blair is trying to persuade others to agree with his viewpoint. I think Thatcher actually relished being in a minority of one.
     
  15. Jun 23, 2005 #14
    Uhhh.... except the rebate in question, you mean?

    Hmmm... looking into the figures, France receives the same farming subsidies as the UK, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden combined. Chirac is a bit of an ar$e. The UK received 5.2bn euros in rebate. France receives 7.2bn euros MORE than the UK in subsidies.

    Anyway, it seems Blair is backing down on his requests now.
     
  16. Jun 23, 2005 #15

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    Negotiation is a discussion intended to produce an agreement. The method employed by Mrs Thatcher in obtaining the rebate can hardly be described as negotiation. :smile:
    Not judging by his address to the european parliament today. :confused:
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2005
  17. Jun 23, 2005 #16
    On the contrary, I think it was a triumph of negotiation. It's hardly like the current situation, where you just have two people refusing to budge on each other's issues. The rebate had to be fought for, and fought for by intensive negotiation. Thatcher had no power to obtain it in any other way.

    ...in which he said he'd be willing to delay a review of the EU budget in favour of an agreement from France and Germany to focus on economic growth.
     
  18. Jun 23, 2005 #17

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    Thatcher simply blackmailed the rest of the EU by vetoing ALL legislation until they gave her what she wanted. Blair in contrast is actually trying to persuade the other members of the value of his vision for europe.


    Here's a quote from today;
    This is the same as he said following the end of the summit last week.
     
  19. Jun 24, 2005 #18
    british "experts" say that french economic model is no good while british is the best. I agree with this in only one way, british model is good for only rich elites, not for whole of population.
     
  20. Jun 24, 2005 #19
    one more thing: continental europe should just kicked out British from EU.
    british are just trouble makers and british economy is not really that big and very important they, don't even know how to make decent automobile.
     
  21. Jun 24, 2005 #20

    brewnog

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    What? :confused:
     
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