Witty words lay to rest foreign-policy pickle

Series Title
Series Details 08/03/01, Volume 7, Number 10
Publication Date 08/03/2001
Content Type

Date: 08/03/01

Entre Nous predicted a 'lively debate' when Javier Solana and Chris Patten came face-to-face at the launch of a pamphlet calling for their jobs to be merged. We were right.

Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform think-tank, which published the pamphlet, Europe's Military Revolution, insisted on fair play by suggesting the two contenders take part in a foreign policy quiz.

The US ambassador to NATO Sandy Vershbow claimed he backed the job-merger idea, saying, “There has to be greater devolution onto one figure.” He did not, however, indicate which man he preferred.

Solana and Patten were both at pains to stress how much they agreed with each other on policy - it seemed clear that both would be happy with an honourable compromise.

Finally, the former Hong Kong governor came up with a solution: “Merge my job with Javier's and give it to Peter Mandelson,” he suggested.

The thought of Tony Blair's disgraced former right-hand man in the role produced a ripple of laughter from the audience, which included such luminaries as ambassador Gebhardt von Moltke, German permanent representative to NATO, and Major-General Graham Messervy-Whiting, head of the interim military staff of the new EU rapid reaction force. They may have been smiling, but who says Patten was joking?

Subject Categories