Today sees the Lisbon Treaty coming into force and interviews with EU big wigs abound in papers across the continent to mark the occasion.
Former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing calls it “an historic day, an emotional moment”. Today sees the Lisbon Treaty fully implemented and writing in Le Figaro, “VGE” is in nostalgic mood. Not known for his modesty, he spoke of his role in bringing Europe to this point.
Giscard d’Estaing notably presided over the Convention on the Future of the European Union that drafted the ill-fated Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. During a speech on front of the Convention he spoke of ‘making Europe dream’ - a moment which elicited spontaneous applause. There were several such moments of emotion during the process that saw the Lisbon Treaty come into existence, he was keen to point out.
“Europe has now been given the tools it needs but will it have the political will to use them?” he concludes.
The International Herald Tribune runs a piece on Javier Solan who was the EU’s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy for 10 years. He never hid his ambition to be the EU’s first foreign minister. Politics and horse-trading got in the way and eventually the job went to Britain’s Catherine Ashton.
Solana said he was proud to have been one of Europe’s guides. “There’s no doubt we’ve established Europe as a political reference point.”
Asked about the ambitions of France, Germany and Britain to play an independent role in world affairs, Mr. Solana was gently contemptuous, “It’s really a fantasy to think you can play in this world of today without being part of this bigger element of Europe… It’s not a sentimental question. There was a rationality of stability before and now it’s a rationality of survival.”
A former Spanish Foreign Minister and Secretary General of NATO, he says he’d like to keep a leg in Europe and one close to the US. “That linkage is part of my body.”
Other stories in the international papers:
Tribune de Génève
Genève under shock after the vote against minarets. Reactions from around the world
Editorial: protecting democracy
Times of Oman
Minarets to be opposed in the Netherlands?
David Cesarani: Justice will not be served by [Demjanjuk’s] trial, even if he is found guilty
Scandal at music event as Pete Doherty sings Nazi-era anthem