Arrogant and hypocritical Chirac savaged by British press


Received Thursday, 24 March 2005 13:16:00 GMT
LONDON, March 24 (AFP)

The British tabloid press on Thursday savaged French President Jacques Chirac, accusing him of breaking commitments to liberalize the European Union and of betraying Britain over its jealously-held EU budget rebate.

"You'd have thought (Prime Minister) Tony Blair would have learned by now that Jacques Chirac is not a man to be trusted," The Sun mass circulation newspaper said in an editorial following the end of EU summit talks.

In Brussels, Chirac condemned Britain's long-cherished EU budget rebate on Wednesday as "no longer justified," after EU leaders agreed in effect to put on hold measures to liberalize Europe's vast services sector.

The measures had been fully supported by Britain, but opposed by France, where the outcome of a May 29 referendum on the EU constitution is uncertain.

"Do him a favor and he won't hesitate to stab you in the back. He did it again in Brussels, demanding that Britain must give up its three billion pound a year EU rebate," the Sun added.

"Chirac's hypocrisy is exposed when he accuses Britain's and America's free market economic policies of causing an 'explosive' poverty gap with the Third World," it said.

"How can he ride so roughshod over the truth?" it said.

"It is the EU's disastrous common agricultural policy (CAP) which makes French farmers rich and denies their African counterparts the chance of free trade," it added.

"By defending the CAP policy tooth and nail, Chirac impoverishes millions," it charged.

Under a deal hammered out in 1984 by then prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Britain gets back three billion pounds (4.32 billion euros, 5.6 billion dollars) on its annual contribution to the EU budget.

The cashback harks back to an era when Britain's economy was nowhere as prosperous as it is today. It also reflects that fact that Britain does not reap big amounts of farm aid from Brussels, as does France.

The 25-member EU is gearing up for tough negotiations on its budget plans for the 2007-2013 period, with the bloc's Luxembourg presidency hoping to strike a deal at a June summit.

Blair, who clashed with Chirac over the Iraq war, cannot be seen to be giving ground on the rebate, especially with a May election and a 2006 referendum on the EU constitution on the horizon.

His foreign secretary Jack Straw said London would use its power of veto over EU budget questions in order to hang on to the rebate.

Meanwhile, the Daily Express newspaper ran a new story about Chirac's outburst in Brussels under the headline "Le Tantrum."

Without the rebate, Britain's net contribution would be 14 times that of France, the Daily Express said.

Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph, a Conservative broadsheet, ran the newsstory under a front-page headline: "Chirac betrays Blair on Britain's rebate."

It said Blair had been humiliated when Chirac attacked Britain's rebate hours after the prime minister had come to his aid in the row over economic reform.

source: . . .
The English savaging the French? No it couldn't be....they wouldn’t do that.

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