Europe is studying its future relations with Iraq on the second day of leaders’talks in Brussels.
At the same time, a message has gone out of ‘solidarity with the Palestinian people’. The EU presidency currently under Dutch management says the bloc intends to help with Iraqi reconstruction and is tabling a promising aid package for discussion. Lunch today will include a special guest, though French President Jacques Chirac will not be there. Paris denies it is meant as a snub towards Iraq’s interim prime minister; But Iyad Allawi’s blunt remarks that the French are “living in the past” and brooding over their nationals as hostage have not helped the mood. The summit kicked off on important matters on the European home front yesterday evening. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder slammed proposals to name and shame countries that lag on economic reforms, as suggested in a report on the Lisbon strategy. Getting reforms back on track will be one of the challenges for the next president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, and his revamped new team. He has been busy getting the EU executive in order.