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Tuesday, March 16, 1999 Published at 14:44 GMT


UK press says Santer must go

Click here for a review of the European press.

There is general agreement in the UK papers that European Commission President Jacques Santer will have to step down.

EU in crisis
However, The Daily Mail is not convinced that root and branch reform will be sufficient to cleanse the stables.

It should not be forgotten, the Mail declares, that the Strasbourg parliament itself is notorious for freeloading and bloated expenses. To expect such a discredited institution to control the commission is wishful thinking.

"Chaos, fraud, failure, but the man at the top says: I'll stay" says The Guardian's front-page headline on the story about what the paper terms "the crisis that has pitted an unelected Brussels bureaucracy against Euro MPs demanding radical reform".

'Hopelessly unmanageable'

The Daily Telegraph is gloomy for the future of Europe after the shaming of the commission.

"By any normal logic," it says, "the events of this week should halt the drive towards further European integration, and should certainly drive home the point that it would be folly to hand over our currency.

"But logic is unlikely to prevail. A reformed EU has always been a chimera. The more ambitious, the more hopelessly unmanageable it becomes."

'Rotten apples'

The Sun, more bluntly, declares that the European Commission is a mighty big barrel.

A lot of its apples are rotten, and there is no point saving any of them.

The paper's political editor fears that nothing much will change, with most people back at their Brussels desks in a week or so, while a handful of scapegoats pay the price by retiring on a fat pension.

From politics to the turf, and the retirement of the racing trainer Jenny Pitman, which receives much coverage.

'Bad bet'

The Express says that Mrs Pitman, who is recovering from cancer, stunned the racing world by announcing her decision to give up.

And while on the topic of racing, The Mirror highlights the sad saga of a horse which, perhaps, should also think of retiring. He is called Quixall Crossett and he is Britain's worst racehorse.

According to the paper, he has taken part in 87 races since 1990, without ever managing to win. His trainer Ted Caine remains an optimist, telling the paper: "It's a funny old game - he could yet be a winner."

Barriers broken

Several papers, among them The Guardian, report the arrival at Lord's cricket ground of the first honorary women members of the MCC, after a wait of 212 years.

The paper's reporter says it all happened so quietly that hardly anyone noticed. One minute they were not there, the next minute they had quietly entered the Long Room by a side door. The men were too busy doing what they usually do in the Long Room: gossiping.

Sandwiches ban

The Daily Mail notes that those waiting to join the gossips are in for a long match. Honorary membership is granted to only a handful of people each year. Other women candidates applying to the club will have to join the 10,000 strong waiting list.

Finally, The Daily Telegraph reports that Ford workers at Dagenham have been ordered to stop eating their sandwiches in unfinished cars.

Apparently, the company is worried that crumbs might be left behind on seats when the vehicles reach the showroom.

Asked by the paper whether any new car buyers had complained, a spokesman responded: "To my knowledge, no".

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