EU Reactions: Disappointment, Frustration, Blame | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 18.06.2005
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EU Reactions: Disappointment, Frustration, Blame

Recriminations flew fast and furious following the EU budget meltdown Friday, with the harshest words reserved for British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Read what EU leaders had to say about the crisis.


Jean-Claude Juncker: "Europe is in a deep crisis"

EU Council President: Jean-Claude Juncker

Speaking following the break-up of negotiations: "People will tell you next that Europe is not in

Responding to the offer from the 10 newcomer states to dig deeper into their own pockets for the sake of rescuing the compromise: "When I heard one after the other, all the new member countries, each poorer than the other, say that in the interest of reaching an agreement they would be ready to renounce some of their financial demands, I was ashamed."

On the future of budget talks: "During this budgetary debate there were two conceptions of Europe that clashed and will always clash. There are those who, in fact without saying it, want the big market and nothing but the big market, a high level free trade zone, and those that want a politically integrated Europe. … I have felt for a long time this debate would blow up one day."

Regarding Britain's Tony Blair who takes over the EU Presidency in two weeks: "No comment. No opinion. No advice"

On Europe's future: "My enthusiasm for Europe is crushed."

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder

Bundeskanzler Schröder mit enttäuschtem Gesichtsausdruck nach dem Scheitern des EU-Finanzgipfels

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder at the end of the EU summit in Brussels Friday June 17, 2005.

Speaking at a news briefing on what could have been achieved for the 2007-2013 budget: "With the goodwill of everyone, I believe a deal would have been possible. … We have not succeeded in reaching agreement, even though a deal would have sent an important signal regarding the ability of the EU to act."

On what went wrong: "The fact that there was no deal is due solely to the completely inflexible stance of the British and the Dutch… Britain in particular had not been prepared to compromise on its budget rebate. … With this, Britain refused to make its contribution to enlargement. That's regrettable."

"It is not a good day for Europe. A piece has been lost from Europe as a political union. That makes me sad."

"Europe has not emerged a winner, and that's putting it very carefully."

On the role of the 10 new member states and their willingness to hold back their own demands: "There is a bright spot that shines in Europe and it will light up others."

French President Jacques Chirac

Scheitern des EU-Finanzgipfels: Chirac zieht ein langes Gesicht

French President Jacques Chirac during a media conference at the end of the EU summit in Brussels Friday June 17, 2005.

"Europe is in a deep crisis," Chirac told a midnight news conference, blaming "the selfishness of two or three rich countries" for the failure.

On the efforts of the 10 new members: "It was very impressive compared to the egoistic position of one or two rich countries."

Speaking on Britain's role in the debate: "He (Blair) wanted to keep the entirety of his check (the British rebate). … I deplore the fact that the United Kingdom refused to contribute a reasonable and equitable share of the expenses of enlargement."

Summarizing the summit: "A very bad outcome for Europe."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair

Reason for rejecting the budget compromise: "It doesn't reflect the Europe we need in the 21st century."

EU-Finanzgipfel gescheitert: Tony Blair

British Prime Minister Tony Blair gestures after a media conference at the end of the EU summit in Brussels Friday June 17, 2005.

Defending Britain's position: "We were not alone at the (summit) table."

"I think people know exactly what the issues are here and I don't think they are fooled by the tactics and the maneuvers. … I hope we can move forward from here."

Blair's foreign secretary, Jack Straw on the crux of the debate: "It's essentially a division between whether you want a European Union that is able to cope with the future or whether you want a European Union that is trapped in the past. It is not one that Europe can dodge."

Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka

Leading the initiative of the 10 member states: "It was in our interest to reach an early compromise, it was in the interest of all new member states.

EU Erweiterung Symbolbild Flagge

Poster promoting EU Expansion on May 1, 2004

On the role of the bigger members: "My proposal was a reaction to what I perceived as the selfishness of some member states. I asked, is it all about money, if so how much?"

"The fact that we don not have a budget is not disturbing. What is disturbing is the atmosphere in the EU."

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa

The budget fight showed the "new Europe which emerged from expansion was not being seriously considered by the old EU members."

Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek

"It is ridiculous and disappointing and for us new EU members absolutely incomprehensible."

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