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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Iran Eu Issues: Chirac-Blair

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 004219

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR INR/R/MR; IIP/RW; IIP/RNY; BBG/VOA; IIP/WEU; AF/PA;
EUR/WE /P/SP; D/C (MCCOO); EUR/PA; INR/P; INR/EUC; PM; OSC ISA
FOR ILN; NEA; WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC/WEUROPE; DOC FOR ITA/EUR/FR
AND PASS USTR/PA; USINCEUR FOR PAO; NATO/PA; MOSCOW/PA;
ROME/PA; USVIENNA FOR USDEL OSCE.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR FR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - IRAN EU ISSUES: CHIRAC-BLAIR
MEETING/EUROPE AS U.S. `COUNTERWEIGHT'
PARIS - WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15, 2005


(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

1. IRAN
2. EU ISSUES: CHIRAC-BLAIR MEETING/EUROPE AS U.S.
`COUNTERWEIGHT'

B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

COVERAGE TODAY IS OVERWHELMINGLY DEVOTED TO YESTERDAY'S
MEETING BETWEEN CHIRAC AND BLAIR, TO THE RIFT BETWEEN THE TWO
LEADERS OVER THE EUROPEAN BUDGET AND THE UK'S REQUEST FOR A
REBATE. THE HEADLINE IN LA TRIBUNE, "THE CLASH BETWEEN CHIRAC
AND BLAIR OVER THE EUROPEAN BUDGET" IS AN APT ILLUSTRATION OF
THE REST OF TODAY'S MEDIA COVERAGE. THE EDITORIAL IN LE FIGARO
CHARACTERIZES THE DISCUSSION AS "PETTY" ALTHOUGH IT AGREES
WITH BLAIR THAT "A FUNDAMENTAL DEBATE ON THE EUROPEAN BUDGET
IS NEEDED." (SEE PART C)

TONY BLAIR IS INTERVIEWED IN LE FIGARO ON THE EUROPEAN SOCIAL
MODEL: "WE ARE VERY MUCH IN FAVOR OF A EUROPEAN SOCIAL MODEL.
IN FACT WE HAVE OUR OWN. WE SPEND MORE MONEY TO FIGHT
UNEMPLOYMENT THAN ANY OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRY. IT IS A
MISUNDERSTANDING TO SPEAK OF AN `ANGLO-SAXON LIBERAL MODEL.'
WE ARE FOR A VERY STRONG SOCIAL DIMENSION. BUT THIS DIMENSION
MUST CORRESPOND TO TODAY'S WORLD. CHINA AND INDIA REPRESENT
MAJOR CHALLENGES, INCLUDING FOR THE U.S. THE TIME FOR INTRA-
EUROPEAN COMPETITION HAS PASSED. THE QUESTION TODAY IS HOW ARE
WE GOING TO DEAL WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD?"

AN ANALYSIS IN LE FIGARO ABOUT THE TWO DIFFERENT VISIONS OF
THE WORLD, CHIRAC'S AND BLAIR'S, RECALLS THEIR DIFFERENCES
OVER IRAQ AND HOW THEY SEE EUROPE. BLAIR IS QUOTED: "I DO NOT
WANT TO SEE EUROPE BUILT AS A RIVAL OF THE U.S." (SEE PART C)

TODAY'S SECOND MAJOR STORY REVOLVES AROUND THE PRESS
CONFERENCE GIVEN YESTERDAY BY FLORENCE AUBENAS, THE FORMER
FRENCH HOSTAGE, THE "NAGGING QUESTION" OF THE ROLE PLAYED BY
THE FRENCH PARLIAMENTARIAN JULIA IN HER LIBERATION, AND THE
ISSUE AT STAKE FOR EDITORIAL BOARDS ABOUT SENDING JOURNALISTS
TO IRAQ. IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LIBERATION, AUBENAS'S EMPLOYER,
ANTOINE DE GAUDEMAR WRITES IN HIS EDITORIAL: "WE AT LIBERATION
DO NOT EXCLUDE THE POSSIBILITY OF SENDING JOURNALISTS TO IRAQ.
BUT THIS DECISION WILL BE TAKEN ONLY AFTER A CLOSE LOOK AT THE
SECURITY CONDITIONS IN BAGHDAD. IT IS CLEAR THAT TO ABANDON
IRAQ MEANS HANDING THE VICTORY TO ALL THOSE WHO WANT TO KEEP
IRAQ ISOLATED FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD AND WHO ARE TAKING
THAT COUNTRY HOSTAGE."

THE LATEST POLL CONDUCTED BY IFOP AND PARIS MATCH REVEALS THAT
PRESIDENT CHIRAC'S POPULARITY HAS GONE DOWN BY 18 POINTS IN A
MONTH, TO A 28 PERCENT APPROVAL RATING. IN REGIONAL L'EST
REPUBLICAIN, EDITORIALIST PIERRE TARIBO COMMENTS: "YESTERDAY,
PEOPLE SAID THAT IT WAS PM RAFFARIN THAT WAS BRINGING DOWN
CHIRAC'S APPROVAL RATE. IF ONE IS TO GO BY THE LATEST
POPULARITY RATING, IT IS CHIRAC HIMSELF WHO NO LONGER HAS THE
APPROVAL OF THE PEOPLE. THE CITIZENS ARE WAVING DIVORCE PAPERS
AND TURNING HIS BALANCE SHEET INTO FAILURE."

AN OP-ED IN LE FIGARO CALLS FOR AN INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO
KEEP IRAN FROM ACHIEVING ITS NUCLEAR ASPIRATIONS. (SEE PART C)

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

IRAN

"SHOULD TEHRAN HAVE THE BOMB?"
GEORGES LE GUELTE FROM IRIS (INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL AND
STRATEGIC RELATIONS) IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (06/15):
"THE NON PROLIFERATION TREATY HAS FOR THE MOST PART REACHED
ITS OBJECTIVES, EVEN IF THE MAJOR POWERS HAVE NOT DONE THEIR
BEST TO CONVINCE INDIA, ISRAEL AND PAKISTAN TO SIGN IT. TODAY,
ALL THE OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE MADE THE COMMITMENT NOT TO SEEK
WEAPONS, AND IT IS ESSENTIAL TO ENFORCE THIS ENGAGEMENT. THE
OUTCOME OF THE NORTH KOREAN AND IRANIAN CRISES WILL BE
DECISIVE: IF THESE TWO COUNTRIES ARE FORCED TO ABANDON THEIR
MILITARY NUCLEAR AMBITIONS, IT IS CONCEIVABLE THAT OTHER
CANDIDATES, TEMPTED BY THESE SAME AMBITIONS, WILL HESITATE TO
INVEST IN A COSTLY ADVENTURE VOWED TO FAIL. IF ON THE OTHER
HAND THEY ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS, OTHERS WILL SAY THAT THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IS INCAPABLE OF IMPLEMENTING THE RULES
IT HAS SET AND THAT THEY MUST ENSURE THEIR OWN SECURITY BY ANY
MEANS POSSIBLE. A WORLD WITH TWENTY OR THIRTY NATIONS WITH A
NUCLEAR ARSENAL CANNOT BE CONTROLLED. IF IRAN ACHIEVES ITS
GOALS, IT WILL BE BECAUSE THE OTHER COUNTRIES COULD NOT OR DID
NOT WANT TO STOP IT. THOSE POLITICIANS WHO WILL HAVE DONE
NOTHING TO AVOID THIS SITUATION WILL BEAR A HEAVY
RESPONSIBILITY."

EU ISSUES: CHIRAC-BLAIR MEETING/EUROPE AS U.S. `COUNTERWEIGHT'

"TWO VISIONS OF THE WORLD"
JACQUES DUPLOUICH IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (06/15):
"DURING THE CRISIS OVER IRAQ TONY BLAIR BELIEVED, UNTIL THE
END, THAT HE WOULD BE ABLE TO `TURN' CHIRAC. LONDON BELIEVED
THAT FRANCE'S POSITION WAS MERE `POSTURING.' THE FACT THAT
CHIRAC, IN THIS EPISODE, WAS RIGHT BOTH ABOUT FORM AND CONTENT
HAS NOT HELPED RELATIONS BETWEEN FRANCE AND BRITAIN.
ESPECIALLY BECAUSE OTHER POINTS OF DISSENSION EXIST: WHEN
CHIRAC TALKS ABOUT BUILDING A EUROPE-POWER TO DEAL WITH THE
CHALLENGES OF A MULTIPOLAR WORLD, TONY BLAIR GOES TO BATTLE
IMMEDIATELY: FOR HIM, EUROPE-POWER EQUATES AN ANTI-AMERICAN
EUROPE. HIS COMMENT IS HARSH: `I DO NOT WANT A EUROPE BUILT TO
RIVAL THE U.S.'"

"BLAIR AND THE `FAIR RETURN'"
NICOLAS BARRE IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (06/15): "LONDON IS
STICKING TO THE NOTION OF `FAIR RETURN' ON THE MONEY POURED
INTO THE EU BUDGET. THIS IS WHERE EUROPE IS TODAY, AND
EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT BREAKDOWNS THESE PETTY QUARRELS CAN LEAD
TO. THE IDEA OF A `JUST RETURN' IS NOT ECONOMICALLY SOUND. BUT
THE BRITISH PRIME MINISTER IS NOT WRONG WHEN HE CALLS FOR A
FUNDAMENTAL DISCUSSION OF THE EUROPEAN BUDGET. THE LISBON
AGENDA CALLED FOR `AN ECONOMY BASED ON THE MOST COMPETITIVE
UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORLD BY 2010.' YET THE DISCUSSION OVER
OUR BUDGET IS A MERE ACCOUNTING FIGHT OVER `THE NATIONAL
BENEFITS' ALREADY ACQUIRED. SEEN FROM WASHINGTON AND BEIJING
THIS FIGHT MUST SURELY LOOK OUT OF SYNC."
WOLFF

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