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Europe

European Press Review: A Full Plate for the EU

European editorial writers on Thursday weighed in on the European Union summit on the draft constitution and the nomination for a new EU commissioner head.

The Financial Times in Britain warned EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday not to blow it. The daily acknowledged that the draft EU constitution isn’t terribly exciting and that it’s far from perfect, adding that compromise won’t come easy. But it said that heads of state are doomed to succeed on the constitution because a second failure to pass it as happened last December would expose the EU to the rest of the world as what poker players would call a busted flush.

Les Echos in Paris wondered just how they will do it though. In light of the results of last weekends’ EU parliamentary elections, which sent a strong warning to EU leaders, the daily predicted that the heads of state are going to try to make a virtue out of a necessity since they don’t want to risk a second failure within a week.

On the other hand, Copenhagen’s Berlingske Tidende wrote that EU leaders do need to keep the message sent by voters in the back of their minds during the EU summit. The daily said it doesn’t make sense for the Union to rush ahead without the voters having a say on the issues, because a European project like this needs the support of the people.

The other hot issue on Thursday was whom EU leaders would choose to replace outgoing European Commission President Romano Prodi. London’s The Times suggested that person should be the European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana. Clarifying its position, the paper explained that former Spanish leader José Marie Aznar was tipped for the job as head of the commission nearly two years ago, but that his participation in the Iraq war liquidated his chances. So the paper thought that the best solution would be to nominate another Spaniard, Solana. The former NATO secretary general’s name is already well known and, in the paper’s opinion, he's reliable.

Germany’s Frankfurter Rundschau said that efforts by several countries led by Germany and France to put Belgian Prime Minster Guy Verhofstadt in the top commissioner’s seat will fail. Instead, it suggested, more time should be taken to speak with all political groups. They know who they want, namely, Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker. The paper wrote that it shouldn’t be too difficult to lure him to Brussels.

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