June 18, 2004


Blair launches broadside at 'dictator' Chirac (Joe Murphy, 6/18/04, Evening Standard)

Tony Blair fired a blistering attack at Jacques Chirac today, accusing the French president of trying to dictate to the rest of Europe.

In unusually brutal language, he charged President Chirac with treating countries including Britain as "second-class" states and acting as though only France and Germany mattered.

Mr Blair was almost equally tough with German chancellor Gerhard Schrˆder, named and shamed for using "unfortunate" tactics at the Brussels summit. His official spokesman - referring to French and German efforts to impose their choice as the new president of the European Commission - said no country should order the others around.

"We accept it is not for us to dictate who is the next president," said the spokesman. "Equally that is not for others to do. What we all have to accept is we are now in a Europe of 25 - not of six, or two, or one."

No one at today's summit was left in any doubt about the target of Mr Blair's assault, scripted after a night pondering a tirade by President Chirac at a dinner for the 25 leaders last night.

The pair later squared up in a "heated" confrontation, diplomatic sources revealed. Mr Chirac was accused of bullying and insulting

leaders of small countries who refused to support him against Mr Blair.

Mr Blair's counter-attack today appeared to be an open challenge to Franco-German dominance of the EU, and a bid to rally the newly joined former eastern bloc states.

Mr. Blair would seem to have realized that he can ride the well-deserved British hatred of the Germans and French to another term as PM.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 18, 2004 1:37 PM

Go get 'em, Tony!

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 18, 2004 2:15 PM

Man, the G-8 must have been fun.

Posted by: Sandy P at June 18, 2004 4:10 PM

Blair's Sister Souljah moment.

Posted by: jd watson at June 18, 2004 7:40 PM

Nonsense, Tony Blair simply wants to be the EU president, for life.

Posted by: Uncle Bill at June 19, 2004 11:00 AM