Richard North, 14/06/2005  
 

In stark contrast to the meeting between Chirac and Schröder, when the pair spent a cordial hour and a half on a joint press conference, after meeting Blair for most of the afternoon, L'Escroc retreated behind the barriers of the Elysée Palace, leaving his spokesman to utter a terse "No comment!" to enquiring hacks.

Blair, meanwhile, held forth at the British embassy, saying very little - at great length. His talks on the rebate had been "immensely amicable" but "obviously there is sharp disagreement... I think it is difficult to see these differences being bridged, but of course we continue to talk to people including the presidency about it."

And, on the vexed subject of the constitution, it was now "clearer than ever before" that "it is right to pause for reflection before proceeding."

That and much more extruded verbal material leaves us none the wiser. With L'Escroc skulking in his lair, nothing can be taken from what Blair-solo says. The prime minister tells us he wants to "reconnect" with the people of Europe but, before he does that, it seems his more immediate priority should be to reconnect with the "colleagues".

More on the BBC website.






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