Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Watching the Euros 

Plenty of good stuff about Europe around the news and around the net (and no, this will not turn into "Good (or Bad) news from Europe" series, I promise).

A few days ago, Chirac, Schroeder, Zapatero and Putin met in Paris for a talk-fest to discuss Iran, Lebanon and the meaning of life.
BBC reports:

"Chirac said the talks had been friendly and the four nations were determined to work together to ensure 'peace and democracy throughout greater Europe'. And he said the four would meet again at an EU-Russia summit to be held in Moscow on 10 May.

"The BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Paris says the purpose of these talks was for France to hold out the hand of friendship to Mr Putin and encourage him down the road of political and economic reforms.

"The three EU leaders appear to have taken a softly-softly approach, keeping the criticism muted and playing up the positives, our correspondent adds. They were not as outspoken as US President Bush was when he last met the Russian president and issued a public rebuke to Mr Putin."
Some Russian commentators think Putin's presence not very consequential; with the thawing of the trans-Atlantic relations and a spat between Moscow and Washington, Putin has little room to maneuver and little to offer. Some Polish commentators (link in Polish), on the other hand, are quite suspicious, seeing the meeting as the first attempt to revive, on its 190th anniversary, the Holy Alliance of the Congress of Vienna (or, for something more contemporary, the treaty of Rapallo), to order the continental affairs to their liking and keep the smaller states in their place (hat tips for the three pieces to Agnieszka from Denver).

Also check out
Pete du Pont's piece in the "Opinion Journal": "Europe's Problem--and Ours: Will the EU choose collectivism over individualism? Will we?" (hat tip: Dan Foty).

And Mark Steyn: "Almost every issue facing the EU - from immigration rates to crippling state pension liabilities - has at its heart the same glaringly plain root cause: a huge lack of babies." And on the same topic, George Weigel's "Is Europe Dying? Notes on a Crisis of Civilizational Morale".


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