Saturday, April 19, 2003
Divisions on European Defence - 20th April 2003, 22.42

Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Germany are meeting on the 28th April to establish an avant-garde in European defence and overturn or advance (depending upon whom you read) the European defence and security policy established by Blair and Chirac in 1998. This has positive implications for the United Kingdom: as it reinforces a 'semi-detached' status that now appears to be a realistic proposition.

As for the continental powers:

Messrs Chirac, Schröder and Verhofstadt are probably right in feeling that in a broader and more diverse EU, defence integration will require an avant garde to set the pace. However, a core based on anti-Americanism cannot work. They are unwise to take this initiative without the British - and the timing is appalling.

Their meeting provides further ammunition that the present crop of continental leaders are the worst since the war in terms of their diplomatic skills and their ability to orient themselves in the changing landscapes of international relations.


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