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Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Thursday, 24 November 2005

Battle for Europe

The European Flag
Battle for Europe was broadcast on BBC One on November 27 2005.
As Britain's presidency of the European Union moves towards its climax with the December leaders summit, Tony Blair continues to call on Europe's heads of government to wake up to a new reality - the need to embrace free market reform to halt Europe's decline.

It's a message that has been received with little enthusiasm in the two biggest economies in Europe - France and Germany.

In this programme, Allan Little travels across the continent to examine the competing models for Europe's future, from the Anglo-Saxon one of open markets to the French version of highly protected traditions. Little finds a Europe divided with the French accusing the British of wanting to destroy decades of social welfare and workers' rights - the so called European model.

As a BBC Paris correspondent, Little has reported the decline in President Chirac's authority, finds France is approaching crisis point acquiring heavy debt to sustain a lifestyle it can no longer afford.

At the heart of the divide are personality clashes like that between Blair and Chirac.

Theirs is said at times to be a tumultuous relationship which has kept the political gossip mill going. At a EU summit three years ago an incensed Chirac was overheard accusing Blair of behaving like 'a badly brought up child' and saying that 'no one has ever spoken to me like that'.

Little finds that while Europe's giants squabble the continent's smaller powers are forging ahead.

In Lithuania, he meets a group of young business entrepreneurs who are hungry for change and impatient at the lack of dynamism coming from the west.

And in Scandinavia, he discovers a quiet, pursuit of excellence which combines business flexibility with high levels of welfare and is being hailed as the future model for Europe.


Production team:
Reporter: Allan Little
Producer: Huw Marks
Assistant Producer: Kinda Haddad
Deputy Editors: Andrew Bell, Frank Simmonds
Editor: Mike Robinson

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Battle for Europe
27 Nov 05 |  Panorama
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27 Nov 05 |  Panorama


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