Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Wto and Eu Agreements
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SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - WTO and EU Agreements
PARIS - Monday, December 19, 2005
(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:
WTO and EU Agreements
B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:
The agreements at the WTO and in Brussels are prominently
featured on today's front pages and all editorials, national
as well as regional are devoted to these two sets of
compromises. Editorialists applaud the agreements, which in
the case of Hong Kong "saves the WTO." But as Liberation
points out, "the question is what is the tie-in between the
agreements in Brussels and in Hong Kong?" La Croix comments:
"The Brussels agreement helped Hong Kong." But for Le Figaro,
the agreement reached in Hong Kong will have "important
consequences" for France's agriculture in 2013. (See Part C)
President Bush's new stance towards torture is a major story
in Le Figaro. Reporting from New York, Jean-Louis Turlin
comments on President Bush's "new stance:" "This weekend he
had to sign a text banning torture he did not want to sign. On
Saturday, instead of talking about Iraq, he devoted his radio
talk exclusively to the telephone tapping controversy:
President Bush confessed but went on the offensive."
Liberation's report is titled: "Bush Proud of His Big Ears."
Iran and Syria are the two major international stories
eliciting commentaries. An op-ed by Renaud Girard in Le Figaro
is titled "The Calculated Provocations of Iran's President."
Girard contends that Ahmadinejad's remarks are part of a plan.
"The regime has decided to play up to the Arab-Muslim masses
rather than to the regimes." Le Monde's editorial on Saturday
was also titled: "Provocations" and called the international
community to act. (See Part C) Le Journal du Dimanche
interviews Iran's Emadeddin Baghi who was recently awarded
France's Human Rights Award: "Ahmadinejad's remarks are meant
to provoke. But his goal is meant as domestic propaganda."
The UN vote resolution 1644 is reported in Le Figaro:
"Damascus is relieved about the nature of the resolution.
which did not say Damascus was not cooperating, but that it
was just slow in cooperating. Syrian officials are saying, `if
we are slow, it means we are cooperating.'" A separate report
mentions Al-Assad's new `religious' terminology in his
speeches. "Normally secular, the Baath party is trying to
garner support from the religious base."
Kosovo's independence is the basis for a page-long report in
Le Figaro which interviews Serbia's President Boris Tadic who
is in Paris. "Contrary to the international community which
supports Kosovo's independence, Tadic is more in favor of
autonomy." says the report.
On the domestic front, Sunday's Le Journal du Dimanche carries
an opinion poll showing that President Chirac and PM Villepin
both lose two percentage points, but Villepin remains ahead by
18 percentage points: 33 percent of respondents back Chirac
while 51 back Villepin.
(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:
WTO and EU Agreements
"The Countdown for Agriculture"
Philippe Reclus in right-of-center Le Figaro (12/19): "More
than the content of the agreement, what counts is the gesture
made by the Europeans in Hong Kong. Europe understands the
importance of developing exchanges; it also understands how
crucial it was not to block the talks. But for France's
agriculture, this weekend will go down in history as the start
of an unavoidable countdown."
"A Last Minute Agreement"
Gerard Dupuy in left-of-center Liberation (12/19): "In
negotiations like those of the WTO, everyone thinks about
one's own interests. With this in mind, the unanimous
agreement reached in Hong Kong is a small miracle. and marks a
break with previous failures. One more failure and the WTO may
not have survived. The compromise marks the official birth
declaration for emerging nations and their rise to power.
Ultra liberalism had to back off some in Hong Kong, but the
final agreement is a move towards liberalism. There remains a
question: to what extent are the agreements reached in
Brussels and Hong Kong tied?"
"Regulation or Solidarity?"
Francois Ernenwein in Catholic La Croix (12/19): "Is the glass
half full or half empty? Considering the risks for the EU, we
must salute the Brussels agreement. Despite the meager
tangible results, the agreement salvages the principle of
compromise. This was essential so that Europe can move
forward. This positive dynamic was immediately beneficial in
another part of the world. The Brussels agreement helped the
one in Hong Kong. It is clear that this move towards
organization through negotiated agreements is a sign of
progress: an open world requires regulations. But what of the
glass half empty? This applies to Europe and the WTO. Although
the step-by-step policy has its virtues, it soon reaches its
own limitations. Regulation is effective only if it can widen
its goals: it must promote solidarity. And today, this is not
obvious in Europe. Neither is it obvious at the WTO."
"Selfishness at Work"
Pascal Aubert in centrist La Tribune (12/19): "Certain
successes have the bitter taste of failure. In Brussels,
everyone is relieved because everyone is convinced that the
worst has been avoided. But no one believes that the last
minute agreement answers the expectations of solidarity
between the wealthy and less wealthy Europeans. National
selfishness has once again triumphed. At the other end of the
world, another battle of selfishness has deprived 2 billion
human beings of hope. In Brussels, as in Hong Kong, solidarity
was once again heralded and forgotten."
"Making Trade More Human"
Paul Burel in regional Ouest France (12/19): "An agreement
made in Hong Kong is not only good for trade and growth, it is
also good for democracy and peace. On condition that those who
signed the agreement go the next step and act on what they
have agreed. But this is something no one can guarantee. It
seems that Europe has made much more painful sacrifices than
its partners. In this game of make believe, the U.S. gets the
top award. Despite the generous offers made for window
dressing, the Americans keep protecting the heavy subsidies
they grant their farmers. China offers a good example: it
reminds us that to regulate commerce it is not enough to
liberalize it. It means to make it more just and more moral:
in a word, more human. There is still lots of work ahead."
Left-of-center Le Monde's editorial (12/17) comments: "How can
the West, and most particularly the U.S. and France, react to
the bloody provocations of assassinated figures in Lebanon?
They want to continue to work through diplomacy and a UN
resolution. They feel this is the most appropriate way. Maybe.
On condition that the text is not too toned down... In certain
instances the need for international unanimity is contrary to
the principle of effectiveness. The same goes for Iran and its
president, who has been making repeated verbal provocations
against Israel... All the while, the Mullah's regime continues
with its uranium enrichment program, which should in the
fullness of time lead Iran to the nuclear bomb. The Europeans,
in concert with the Americans, are trying to dissuade Tehran
with the threat of a UN vote on sanctions. But each time Iran
flouts them, they step back with the hope of safeguarding the
unity of the international community, united in its inaction.
The alternative does not lie between indecision and the
promotion of a changing of the regime, or even as the
Americans see it, an armed intervention. But the Europeans
should know through experience that to appease is not enough
to eliminate the danger." HOFMANN