July 01, 2004


Britain has concluded that its three-nation alliance with France and Germany is in effect over after a series of rows between Tony Blair and the French President, Jacques Chirac.

Ministers believe President Chirac has become impossible to work with, and one government source described him as a "rogue elephant". The strategy of "trilateralism" has now given way to limited ad hoc co-operation on specific issues. . . .

The UK believes M. Chirac is lashing out from a position of weakness and is playing to a domestic audience.

The Government sees the appointment of Mr Barroso as an important turning point because it proved the French and Germans could not push through their choice of Commission president. The end of trilateralism will come as a relief to many smaller European nations, which feared the three most powerful countries in the EU would set up a directoire.

It seems that arrogant unilateralism isn't paying off for Chirac. Perhaps he should have worked harder to build a coalition with Britain and smaller European nations -- like George W. Bush did on Iraq!