Monday, June 25, 2007

The European Treaty

There is a curious bifurcation in the media coverage of the new EU treaty. In France the agreement has been heralded as a triumph for Sarkozy, who, with no little help from his breathless press aide David Martinon's serial briefings, has been portrayed as the indispensable orchestrator of the agreement. Today the New York Times echoes the French account. But the German papers, as exemplified by this FAZ narrative, not only take a less triumphalist tone but also ironize about Sarkozy's role, allowing that he "let it be known that he could live with fewer German votes." In Germany, then, Merkel's success in obtaining an agreement is tempered by recognition of the cost in German influence, and Sarkozy is the hereditary enemy rather than the architect of the general good. And the Times reports on British glee at having gotten a great deal for the UK because the Germans were "transfixed" by Poland.


Anonymous said...

Different interpretations of respective diplomatic triumphs certainly abound. One way of ordering them is in terms of the promises governments made about having referenda. Sarkozy is intent of demonstrating the difference of the revised treaty from what French voters rejected in 2005, which means bigging up his own role. Merkel, Zapatero and others are flagging up the similarity of the treaty, in order to give some value to the referenda they held (in Spain) or to the parliamentary ratifications (in Germany). In the UK, the government is stressing how different the revised treaty so that they can justify reneging on their promise to hold a referendum.

Anonymous said...

And from what I recall having read in the Italian press, they are saying this treaty is totally unreadable, pointing the finger at my newly elected president.