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Two “Good Europeans” Honoured

  • March 27th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

chirac-004.jpgJacques Chirac received an antique beer tankard and a round of “sustained and sincere” applause at the European summit (24-25.3.07); Helmut Kohl is is being nominated for a Nobel Prize.

The out-going French President, Jacques Chirac, was attending his last of many such gatherings, going back to his time as “cohabitating” Prime Minister with Presdient Francois Mitterrand, when they would participate as a bi-partisan team.

He never affected the grandeur of a Mitterrand on the public stage but as a perennial presence became regarded as a dependable partner in deal-making, appreciated for his commitment to Franco-German accord and European unity, (and noted also for friendly hand-kissing of the lady politicians).

The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said President Chirac had been saluted as a “good European”, and was presented with an historical, 18th centrury beer mug, “for his collection”.

Barroso announced that as EC President he was formally nominating the former German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, for the Nobel Peace Prize.

He said Kohl had played a leading role in the peaceful reunfiictaion of Germany and integration of the united country into the European Union.

The Berlin declaration signed at the weekend summit, to mark the 50th anniversary of the EU, emphasised its success as a mechanism for containing international conflict and achieving peaceful settlements.

A THIRD European statesman returned to the public stage on the occasion of the 50th year. Jacques Delors, the President of the European Commission (1985-94) who set up the expansion under the Maastricht Treaty, gave an interview to set out his observations on how things had been going.

He strongly supported the decision to work on a constitution for the EU, telling the International Herald Tribune the European Union could “unravel” if it did not manage to ratiionalise its procedures.

He said Europeans, especially the leaders of national governments, would be mistaken if they thought the exisence of the EU could be taken for granted.

Reference: Paul Taylor, “Delors worries EU flaws could cause it to ‘unravel‘”, International Herald Tribune, Paris, 14.3.07, p3