Chirac and Schröder doing a slow dance with everyone else watching
Schröder and Chirac flaunt love affair at summit
The closeness between France and Germany reached a new and extraordinary climax last night when Jacques Chirac formally agreed to represent Gerhard Schröder at a European summit. The German chancellor has to fly home from the meeting in Brussels later today ahead of a crunch vote by parliament tomorrow on his reforms. Yesterday Romano Prodi, the president of the European commission, welcomed the move: "We are in a changing Europe, where traditional barriers are breaking down." British diplomats professed themselves unfazed. "We’re relaxed," one said, adding: "There is a European dance. It isn’t just France and Germany doing a slow dance with everyone else watching. It’s a lot more promiscuous than that." Next year’s expansion of the EU to 25 members will dilute Franco-German influence. But there is no doubt that the two are the closest, and most important, countries in the union - largely due to the relationship Mr Chirac and Mr Schröder have forged, following a chilly start.
Posted by: g wiz 2003-10-17