- The Washington Times - Friday, June 15, 2001

Yesterdays EU summit in Gothenburg, Sweden must have been rather disappointing for the 12,000 demonstrators who showed up to protest George Bush. If they were hoping to break up the international meeting there as the thousands of violent protesters did in Seattle with the WTO summit in 1999, President Bush provided them with a let down. As they threw stones and bottles, the summit not only continued without interruption, but Mr. Bush and EU officials came to agreement on key matters including trade, AIDS, the Middle East and the Balkans.
The United States and the EU agreed on moving ahead with another round of trade talks at the World Trade Organization summit in November in Qatar. That summit, they agreed, would promote liberalization of trade markets and would better define and broaden rules of the WTO to help promote economic growth. The meeting would also focus on promoting long-term development in countries like India, Pakistan and Malaysia. The European Union agreed it would accept a more incremental approach to matters such as foreign investment and national competition policy, a big improvement over the all-or-nothing stance the EU took in Seattle two years ago.
Brussels and Washington also had a meeting of minds on the importance of fighting the spread of disease in Africa, especially AIDS. Mr. Bush proposed a U.S.-U.N. fund to aid the process, and the European Union agreed to consider the project.
Discussions on the Middle East came two days after both Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat signed on to an initiative crafted by CIA Director George Tenet. The European Union, which also held talks with the two Middle East leaders Sunday, supported the Tenet initiative as well as the parameters of the Mitchell report, which calls for a cessation of violence, a cooling-off period and confidence-building measures before the two sides come to the negotiating table.
On the controversial issue of involvement in the Balkans, there was also agreement. While the Europeans had been concerned that the United States would pull its troops out of the volatile area, Mr. Bush assured the union that U.S. forces would be staying, despite the fact that the EU force has now taken the leading role as peacekeepers in their own back yard.
On the one subject where they agreed to disagree — the environmental reforms of the Kyoto treaty — European Commission President Romano Prodi had a hard time explaining why his own country and every other EU member had not yet ratified the treaty, a topic on which the Europeans have bitterly attacked the United States. "There is no one single country who has declared not to ratify it," was the only explanation he could give. In other words, while the United States was preparing an alternative proposal that would not have averse affects on developing countries, the European Union has done nothing but complain.
For now, the European Union and Mr. Bush made plans for cooperation on enough fronts to give the demonstrators pause. They will need the rest of the year to think of their rallying cry for the next round in Qatar.

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