British Prime Minister Tony Blair has assured his European peers that President George W. Bush wants to heal the bitter rift with Europe over Iraq.
Washington’s first ally in the war could be seen at the summit chatting at full tilt with one of its fiercest critics; The French president has called for reinforced European unity, to contend as an international presence alongside the Americans. EuroNews asked the U.S. ambassador to the EU, Rockwell Schnabel, for his reaction, in Brussels. “If there is a change in attitude in France towards the Unites States, I would imagine we will respond in kind. France has been particularly difficult, of course. Germany is clearly already changing — and we are doing a lot of things. Clearly, we have had a relationship with France (for) many, many years and we hope, obviously, that that is going to be mended. Business-to-business relationship with France is actually working quite well. There are some problems at the leadership… at the political level. And again there is a strong desire to get that straightened out as soon as possible. I am confident that it will (be), over time.” While some voices in Europe extended “warm congratulations” to the winner in the White House, the Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker expressed more of a ‘like it or lump it’ pragmatism at the summit. “The European Union governments have to get along with all American presidents, whoever they may be, and with all their administrations. We know Mr Bush and he knows us, and I believe that on both sides of the Atlantic it has been understood there must be a deepening of mutual relations to get them out of the rut they’re in now.”