UK prime minister Tony Blair could expect no thanks for saying so, but he was right when he warned just days after George W Bushs re-election that many European leaders were "in a state of denial" about the result.

Whatever hopes many Europeans or their leaders may have nurtured for the John Kerry challenge, Bush has been re-elected, and politicians have to accept it. The transatlantic relationship is too important- for the EU, as well as for the UK. If Europe is serious about exporting the values it constantly evokes democracy, human rights, open trade, multilateralism, peace, security it needs to deal with the worlds only remaining superpower.

It won't be easy. And Condoleezza Rice's appointment as Secretary of State suggests that foreign policy will become even less consultative, while the dollar's continuing plunge will intensify transatlantic divergences over macro-economic policy and trade.

But for all the difficulties, the EU will have to find new understandings.

The moves towards an Iranian nuclear research moratorium, brokered by the UK, French and German governments, provide an example of Europe's potential to deliver in sensitive areas of foreign policy.

Similarly, every chance has to be seized in the Middle East peace process - where the EU can make a real contribution both through its influence with...

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