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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 16:42 GMT
Chirac sparks 'New Europe' ire
Jacques Chirac
Chirac has been widely condemned in the candidate countries
French President Jacques Chirac's criticism of the East European EU applicants' support for the US stance on Iraq has generated a wide debate and angry reaction in the press in those countries. The following are quotes from newspapers from across the region.

The Czech Republic

The French president is without doubt walking on thin ice when he tries to base European foreign policy on the principle of anti-Americanism. His theory does not even have the support of the majority of EU member states.
Hospodarske Noviny

All right, Monsieur Chirac, perhaps we are poor, perhaps we were not raised properly - but we do not repay those who have helped us and who continue to help us with ingratitude
Latvia's Neatkariga Rita Avize
All Central European nations are used to the interpretations that some countries have more rights than others. They are also used to furious tirades, followed by tanks. If Chirac wants to revive the spirit of Leonid Brezhnev and renew the doctrine of limited sovereignty, which means fewer rights for some countries, it is his own affair.
Mlada Fronta Dnes

The EU is a realistic kind of club where it's all about political power and pushing through the aims of individual states. And when it gets uncomfortable for EU politicians to take on board new countries, they calmly throw them overboard, for instance over their attitude to the USA.
Lidove Noviny


Chirac is probably not alone in his views, even if the politicians of other EU states put things more diplomatically. However, the two camps, split over the Iraq affair, both seek the favours of the central and east-central European states which, owing to their Nato and expected EU membership, have grown in value.
Magyar Hirlap

Specific eastern European views has now become an unavoidable presence in the set of values of the expanding EU. It was no coincidence that, following the adoption of the joint stance, the French president criticized in unusually sharp language those candidate states which had been urging a firmer EU-US stand on Iraq.


After enlargement, the EU will be different. Less French or German, less Chirac's. However, not the worse for it
Pravda, Slovakia
All right, Monsieur Chirac. Perhaps we are poor. Perhaps we were not raised properly. We do not know about fine wine and the various directions of avant-garde art. But we do not repay those who have helped us and who continue to help us with ingratitude.
Neatkariga Rita Avize

Perhaps there are some in Paris who want to be the patriarch of Europe's "family", letting others in the family "knock on the door" humbly. By denying the right of others to hold independent views, however, France runs a risk of being alone with its own view.


Paris's attempt to ruin EU enlargement may lead to a rift in the EU. But this scenario would be a nightmare even for France itself, which is trying to proclaim itself as the strongest EU power.
Lietuvos Rytas

It seems France, the nation with old pedagogical traditions, decided to continue educating the European juniors.
Verslo Zinios


Chirac allowed himself to say things which should not have been said... Poland can make its own sovereign decisions about its views. EU membership must not deprive us of this right. Loyalty towards Paris should not mean subordination. Loyalty brings obligations on both sides.


French President Jacques Chirac's harsh criticism of Romania and Bulgaria for bad behaviour and recklessness for their support for the USA on Iraq is without precedent... During the Gulf War Romania was criticised for supporting Iraq and it is now criticised for supporting the USA.


Most senior politicians of sovereign states have no right to their own opinion, even if it is even more controversial than the "Vilnius declaration". The "cold shower" was sudden but it did not come completely out of the blue.


Jacques Chirac's degrading message to the candidate countries can actually be taken as a compliment. The French President admitted defeat in his rage. Suddenly the 15 [EU members] succeeded in resolving within a couple of hours a matter on which they were not able to agree for months. It was the "new Europe" which forced "the old" to overcome itself.

Neither Slovakia, nor any other candidate country will enter the EU to keep silent but in order to make their voice be heard more... After enlargement, the EU will be different. Less French or German, less Chirac's. However, not worse for that.

"When [Chirac] reproached the candidate countries for not having discussed their attitudes with the others to a minimal extent at least, he forgot that it was mainly France and Germany who, since the very beginning, have taken a negative stance on a possible use of force against Iraq and on Turkey's request for ... military aid without asking about positions of other countries.
Narodna Obroda

'New Europe' backs EU on Iraq
19 Feb 03  |  Europe
Chirac blasts EU candidates
18 Feb 03  |  Europe

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