BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 17:55 GMT
Chirac blasts EU candidates
Jacques Chirac
Chirac's outburst against applicants surprised observers

French President Jacques Chirac launched an unprecedented attack on the east European candidates for EU membership that signed two public letters of support for the American stance on Iraq.

At the end of an emergency summit in Brussels, Mr Chirac called their behaviour "childish" and warned it could have an impact on their hopes of joining the EU.

LATEST LETTER SUPPORTING US
Albania
Bulgaria*
Croatia
Estonia*
Latvia*
Lithuania*
Macedonia
Romania*
Slovakia*
Slovenia*
*EU candidate country
France was already concerned that the former communist countries would become America's Trojan horse within the EU and Nato - but the two letters have clearly stung President Chirac to the quick.

In an extraordinary outburst, he described the behaviour of the candidate countries as "dangerous".

Joining the EU takes some consideration and consultation, he said, and these countries were reckless and not very well-behaved.

"They missed a great opportunity to shut up," he chided the candidates, and their pro-American stance could feed public hostility to EU expansion.

Chilly reception

Eight former communist countries are set to join the EU next year, but Mr Chirac was particularly critical of the poorest applicants, Romania and Bulgaria, which will have to wait until 2007.

JANUARY'S OPEN LETTER OF SUPPORT
Czech Republic*
Denmark
Hungary*
Italy
Poland*
Portugal
Spain
United Kingdom
*EU candidate country
Their position is already very delicate, he said, and if they wanted to diminish their chances of joining the EU they could not have chosen a better way.

So the leaders of the applicant countries will get a chilly reception when they come to Brussels on Tuesday to be briefed on the summit results - even if Mr Chirac has already gone home.

Last week France rejected a British request for the candidates to join the talks on Iraq.

Even though it is unlikely that expansion can be stopped by the depth of French feeling, this first incident has shown that alliances will be much more unpredictable and fraught in a Union of 25 and more countries.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Stephen Sackur
"Tony Blair looked drained after a weekend of anti-war demonstrations"

Key stories

Analysis

CLICKABLE GUIDE

BBC WORLD SERVICE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT

Talking PointTALKING POINT
EU meeting
Can rift over Iraq be healed?
See also:

17 Feb 03 | Europe
18 Feb 03 | Europe
17 Feb 03 | Middle East
17 Feb 03 | Middle East
16 Feb 03 | Americas
30 Jan 03 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes