THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: How has Britain handled the presentation of the EU presidency?

Alasdair Sutherland

Alasdair Sutherland

Manning Selvage and Lee, Paris

’I think Britain’s presidency has been typically New Labour; too much

emphasis on Tony Blair. He seemed to be trying too hard to be friends

with the European leaders, rather than asserting Britain’s


I got the impression that Britain doesn’t know what it means to be a

serious contributor to the European Union.’

Elaine Cruikshanks

Hill and Knowlton International, Belgium

’Tony Blair’s popularity has been a key factor. Having school children

design the EU logo was a good start. The invitation of Nelson Mandela

transformed the lacklustre Cardiff Summit. Low points included the

nomination for the presidency of the European Central Bank; I felt the

UK was on the sidelines. Overall, the British presidencies was competent

and pragmatic. Any failure to make a breakthrough can be attributed to


Daniel Verpeaux

Grayling , France

’Britain’s image in France as the president of the European Union was a

very good one. When Blair spoke in the French Parliament he was very

well received, by those on the left and right of the political spectrum

Despite this, Britain’s presidency didn’t produce the results expected.

The image of Tony Blair appears to be higher than his abilities.’

Diego Biasi

Business Press, Italy

’The British government controlled the sensitive ’mad cow’ disease issue

very well, taking a position and making it clear across Europe. The same

did not happen with the euro or the presidency. Because the UK is

considered an outsider in Europe it could have been a good opportunity

for Tony Blair to fill this gap, but he missed it.’

Sheena Campbell-Royle

SCR Relaciones Publicas, Spain

’In Spain Britain’s presentation of its presidency was a good one. This

was due to the presence of Tony Blair who is admired in Spain. I think

this was due not so much to any concerted PR approach, but to

similarities between himself and Prime Minister Azmur of Spain. Both men

have dominant wives, two children and similar political policies.

Blair’s view that countries belonging to the Union should govern

themselves is generally welcomed in Spain.’

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