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February 18, 2004
Jealousy Is Such An Ugly Emotion

Jacques Chirac -- the jealous type? Apparently, Tony Blair has been makin' time with Jacques' main diplomatic squeeze, and he's not happy about it:

Tony Blair put himself squarely at the heart of European decision-making last night by breaking into the Franco-German axis and persuading it to speed up economic reform. He brushed aside criticisms from Italy and other countries which have been left out in the cold by the decision of the EU's three most influential powers to join forces and give a lead to the rest. ...

But he was publicly rebuked by Jacques Chirac, the French president, who showed his unease at Mr Blair's intrusion into what he said was the EU's most "intense" relationship. France fears that Germany is edging closer to Britain, a shift underlined by Joschka Fischer in an interview with The Telegraph three weeks ago.

Chirac and Schroeder famously exchanged places at a conference not too long ago, making the point that the needs of the French and Germans are indistinguishable. Since then, the relationship between the two European powers has decrescendoed, with Germany starting to play hard-to-get and noting that France doesn't speak for Germany on all foreign-policy issues. Germany also said that France doesn't bring them flowers anymore and sometimes forgets to put the seat down, too.

With all of that going on, who can blame Chirac for being upset seeing Tony Blair romancing their "intense" partner? But he has no one to blame but himself. After all, France pledged to be true to Germany, but then all those oil-for-food bribes from Saddam came out, and it turns out that France played footsy with Saddam behind Germany's back. Maybe that's why Chirac overcompensated by pouting and telling everyone that it didn't matter that Germany talked with the UK, because if you love something, let it go, blah blah blah:

He was dismissive when asked whether the close relationship between Paris and Berlin, which allows ministers from one country to represent the other at EU meetings, would serve as a model for the new arrangements between the Big Three.

"Everybody will understand that the Franco-German relationship is very specific, that it is not something you can impose or export in the short term," he said. "It is an intense relationship; that is illustrated by our regular contacts."

It's those intense relationships that burn out so fast, mon cher ...

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 18, 2004 11:15 PM

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