Richard North, 09/11/2004  

Somewhat belatedly - but nonetheless welcome - the Sun newspaper has picked up on the tripartite alliance between Germany, France and Spain, with the headline "Secret plot to kill Nato".

According to the Sun, this "secret EU plot" to wreck Nato and torpedo the UK's influence in Europe was sensationally laid bare by Spain's prime minister yesterday, when he "vowed his country would stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow Iraq war weasels France and Germany — to dictate a common EU defence policy that would leave Britain sidelined."

Zapatero, it seems "brazenly declared" the ultimate aim was to challenge America, saying: "Europe must believe that it can be in 20 years the most important world power. We want to arrange the European future at the side of France and Germany. Spain sees itself with France and Germany as never before."

The Sun thinks that these comments were "a huge blow to Tony Blair", especially as Zapetero is arguing that the constitution is a "milestone" on the road to a European military and economic superpower. This is not what Blair - who has invested a great deal of political capital in trying to cement relations with Germany and France - wants to hear.

Neither is the underlying message a happy one. It is becoming increasingly evident that there is an EU agenda to sideline Nato and the only dispute one might have with the Sun is with their claim about "a secret plot". The agenda is hardly secret, but that is an academic distinction. Secret or not, it is certainly dangerous.

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