PositionJacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder discuss Common Agricultural Policy - Brief Article

The regular Summit was overshadowed by two key factors: one, on a personal level, was the differing situations of the two leaders. French President Jacques Chirac, recently re-elected and with a new Government in place closely in tune with his own political views, could speak with conviction about the coming months and years, while German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder faces elections in September that threaten to remove him from office, on current projections. The other key factor is the profound difference between the two countries on the EU's Common Agricultural Policy: Germany, as the principal paymaster, is pushing hard for early cut-backs in its cost, while France, as one of the principal beneficiaries, is strongly opposed to any profound reform at least until 2007. In the event, and to no-one's surprise, the meeting provided no breakthroughs, with decision being substituted with working groups."Bilateral relations present no difficulty, except here and there some small differences", said Chancellor Schroeder at the end of the meeting. A very busy and complex programme of European politics has to be dealt with in the next three or four months, he went on, because historic decisions will be taken in Europe and for Europe - on enlargement, and on the deepening of...

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