Chirac vs Blair – the rematch

We’ve been here before – but never has the relationship between Britain and France within the EU been more interesting. For Chirac, it hasn’t quite gone to plan. I’m sure he would have wanted to enter this period with France looking like good Europeans (having ratified the Constitution), casting Britain in it’s traditional role of the sceptical people on the margins of Europe (clinging to their rebate and unable to convince their Eurosceptic people of the advantages of being in the EU).

But this time, it’s the French who’ve thrown the EU into disarray, while Tony looks forward to his term at the helm. The trouble with the rebate is that it’s only justified because of CAP, and in a world where effects of unfair agricultural subsidies on third world producers can no longer be ignored, CAP is becoming less and less defensible.

Add to this the further complications introduced by EU expansion, and it becomes abundantly clear that the whole system of EU finance is in need of root-and-branch reform. Maybe then we’ll persuade more citizens on both sides of the channel to endorse a joint constitution.

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