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European Press Review: Bush Visits Britain

Editorialists in Europe debated the timing of U.S. President George Bush’s state visit to Britain and the condition of transatlantic relations.

London's Independent had a photo of George and Laura Bush emerging from their plane, Air Force One. The Independent opened its editorial with the words: "the state visit of President George Bush has come to signify all that has gone wrong with transatlantic relations".

La Repubblica, in Rome, was rather more charitable. It said nobody could have possibly foreseen the current climate of opinion in Britain, when Tony Blair invited Mr Bush just ten months after the shock of September 11th 2001.

Le Figaro, in Paris, said the bridge that Mr Blair is hoping to build between Europe and the United States is nothing but a fata morgana. With this visit, Mr Bush runs the risk of the achieving the opposite of that which he intends. If this visit goes off badly, the French paper said, then Britain will start to edge away from America and towards Europe.

On the other side of the Channel, the Guardian said Bush and Blair could not be further apart on all aspects of social reform. A destiny linked to Iraq is the only thing they share, according to the paper.