Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Another summit - this is becoming a mountain range

Summit politics started in the late fifties with Nikita Khrushchev meeting President Eisenhower. Then there was an important summit in Vienna between President Kennedy and Khrushchev again. This was followed avidly by all Russians and East Europeans, largely because of the unimaginable glamour of the American Presidential couple.

Now, it seems summits grow like mushrooms. No sooner have President Chirac and Chancellor Schröder returned from their summit with President Putin in Sochi than we have an announcement from Spain that in mid-September Prime Minister Zapatero will hold a summit with the leaders of France and Germany in Moncloa in Madrid.

The main topic of discussion will be the ratification of the Constitution, which, at that point, would not have been signed yet. Spain will be the first to hold a referendum on February 27.

Then we shall have the perannial problem of the various funds that Spain receives from the European Union, while boasting of its economic success. Justifiably, there is a worry in that country that some of these moneys will be diverted to the new members, who have a much poorer population. Presumably, Zapatero will want an assurance from Germany in particular that the EU’s income would, if necessary, increase. Germany has already said that they would not countenance handing any more money over.

Then there will be the usual completely pointless discussions about the reactivation of the Middle East peace process and what to do about it (well, not handing any more money to terrorists or thoroughly corrupt political leaders might be a good start) as well as ideas about Iraq, where the three countries have no troops and Afghanistan where they have a few and cannot send any more.

It should be a jolly meeting, sorry, summit on September 13. One wonders who will join the summitry next.

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