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Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 18:13 GMT 19:13 UK
Bush wins no friends in Gothenburg
US President Bush, centre, shares a laugh with Swedish Prime Minister Persson, left, and EC President Prodi.
Mr Bush is probably breathing a sigh of relief
By Stephen Sackur in Gothenburg

US President George W Bush knew he was in for a difficult day in Gothenburg.

The gulf that divides the United States and the European Union over the Kyoto protocol has been obvious for many weeks.


Without America, many will see the attempt to curb global warming as fatally flawed

In the event, the US President is probably breathing a small sigh of relief - it could have been worse.

The EU's top representatives have expressed resignation rather than anger.

They barely raised an eyebrow when Mr Bush used the fig leaf of continued dialogue and further research to cover his unilateral withdrawal from a treaty that took a decade to negotiate.

Beyond today's public courtesies and mutual expressions of commitment to an ever-closer EU-US relationship, though, Kyoto threatens to become a lasting irritant in transatlantic relations.

European governments say they will ratify the treaty anyway.

But without America, the world's biggest polluter, many will see the attempt to curb global warming as fatally flawed, and that is likely to fuel new European suspicions that the Bush administration's muscular definition of its own interests does not coincide with Europe's.

If George Bush came to Gothenburg to win hearts and minds, the day's events, for all the veneer of friendship, will have done him little good.

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See also:

30 Mar 01 | Americas
Kyoto: Why did the US pull out?
14 Jun 01 | Europe
Swedes still sceptical about EU
13 Jun 01 | Europe
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Bush's Nato charm offensive
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Analysis: France fights US vision
08 Jun 01 | Europe
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