Europe (EU)

Thanks to Bush, US May Soon be Supplanted by European Union as the World's Most Respected Power
Europe (EU)

Scotsman: "Leaders of Spain, France and Germany - all opposed to the Iraq war - declared the 'old Europe' alive and well as they pledged to work together for a strong, unified continent and approve the new EU constitution. Spanish PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero yesterday met with Pres Jacques Chirac of France and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in a meeting symbolising Spain's shift back to a Europe-oriented foreign policy, breaking with the former Spanish leader's emphasis on ties with Washington. Zapatero emerged from the meeting to call himself and his guests 'fervent pro-Europeans', and alluded to US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's description of France, Germany and other countries opposed to the Iraq war as 'the old Europe.' "

Europe Rocked by Poll Disaster: Was it the 'BUSH FACTOR'?
Europe (EU)

Governments across Europe are reeling this morning in the wake of a European Union reps election that gave huge gains to opposition and "fringe" parties. Though the mainstream media is avoiding the topic, the pattern points at least in part to the BUSH FACTOR. The governments that suffered the biggest setbacks were those which most strongly backed Bush, the "most hated man on Earth": Blair's Labor Party made its worst showing ever, while Silvio Berlusconi was shocked by his huge vote loss. The leaders who turned out to "kiss and make up" with Bush over D-Day and then at the G-8 summit also were hit very hard, with the parties of France's Chirac and Germany's Schroeder suffering huge losses. The only government that bucked the trend? Spain's socialist party, which has unwaveringly stood up to Bush.

'Seismic Shift' in France as the Left Wins Big in Elections
Europe (EU)

"The political future of the French prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, hung in the balance last night as voters delivered a stinging rebuff to the conservatives in the second round of the regional elections, confirming widespread public discontent with his centre-right government. The resurgent left collected 49.9% of the national vote, putting it in control of as many as 19 of mainland France's 22 regional councils, according to early exit polls. The right managed only 37.5% and was likely to cling on to just three or four of the 14 councils it held before the polls. Pundits predict that President Jacques Chirac will revamp the cabinet within days to reassure voters that he has heard their message. 'This is a seismic shift,' one analyst, Pierre Le Marc, said. 'The national vote of censure in the first round has been confirmed and amplified. The president cannot ignore it. There will be sweeping changes to the government.'"

EU Expansion: Moral Choices in Europe
Europe (EU)

William Pfaff writes: "The current intensity of the European debate is virtually unrecognized in the United States, and even in Europe it is often ignored by the public because of its complexity. Yet the European Union expects soon to expand from 15 to 25 members, adopt a constitution and develop a common strategic and defense policy. 'Reinforced cooperation' among several EU governments has produced a decision to create an autonomous European military force outside NATO. (The State Department has amused the press by calling the countries doing this 'the chocolate makers'; they include France and Germany.) Expansion will bring the rest of Central Europe and the Baltic states into the EU, with others to follow. The current formula is '25 plus 2 plus 1 - plus the Balkans.'"