» Monday, December 12, 2005


Put to the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) that he told journalists last week that Jack Straw would publish a new proposal ahead of the summit, the PMOS that he did not; others did. The PMOS said that we would publish something towards the middle of the week, close to the summit, as was normal practice.

Asked if the Prime Minister had any plans to speak to President Chirac, Chancellor Merkel or Prime Minister Berlusconi this week before the summit, the PMOS said that we had been in close contact with them all. The PMOS said he would be surprised if we had not talked with President Chirac before Thursday, but people should wait and see what happened.

Asked if all the Cabinet supported the proposals, the PMOS replied: yes.

Asked if there had been no attempt by the Chancellor to try and "bounce" the Prime Minister, the PMOS said he did not recognise the comments in any sense at all.

Asked by a correspondent from Poland if the Prime Minister would use any of the comments by Charles Crawford in his speech to the EU later this week, the PMOS replied that the Foreign Office had explained the context of Mr. Crawford’s remarks and Jack Straw had expressed his full support for the Ambassador. The PMOS continued that most people had at some stage said things that they later regretted!

With regards to the summit, the important thing was that these negotiations were approached by everybody in a very realistic way, and people recognised that the proposal we had put forward was a serious proposal which aimed to get a deal now, not least because we judged that to be in the interests in the Accession Countries, including Poland. That would mean that the Accession Countries would be able to get their money now, rather than at some date in the future. We would find ways for them to be able to access that money more efficiently and effectively. The PMOS said, however, that it also involved painful and difficult decisions, and we did recognise that, but this deal would not be anybody’s ideal deal, but we hoped it might be what people recognised as the only realistic one at this stage.

Asked if there would be an alarm clock on the table, the PMOS said there would not be one! On the other hand, what was important was that people recognised that we did have to make decisions at some stage; whether to go for this deal, or not. If this deal was not taken up, it was likely that it would be some time before there would be another possibility for a deal. That was the choice that people had to make.

Put that the Prime Minister had said on Friday that it was highly unlikely that we would get a deal under the Austrian or Finnish Presidency, and why did he think that, the PMOS replied that given the Austrians’ position on the CAP, for example, it was thought it would be difficult to see how a deal would be possible if they approached it in the same spirit. It was the assessment of those who were experienced in this field.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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