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GERMANY



Published: Mon, November 12, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



GERMANY

Frankfurter Allegemeine, Frankfurt, Nov. 5: The irritation aroused by the Franco-German-British meeting ahead of the European Council session in Ghent has not been without fallout: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was hastily invited to join the threesome in London, followed by Spain's Jose Maria Aznar.

And finally, like unpopular relatives whom one must invite in the end anyway, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstaedt, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, and Javier Solana, the high representative in charge of the European Union's common foreign and security policy, were invited too.

Power: It is easy to make fun of EU foreign policy ambitions, which so far exist only on paper because they are not backed by the international currency that counts in this field: power.

Since European power cannot simply be collectivized, close coordination between governments is essential at the moment.

If the Europeans want to be taken seriously in the future, this crisis should prompt them to make their foreign policy, which is now split between various institutions, more coherent once and for all.

ITALY

La Repubblica, Rome, Nov. 7: The good rapport which Pope John Paul II has created with the Muslim world is now at risk. The more "Christian" countries send troops into Afghanistan, the louder the Muslim cry of holy war will become.

Some of the pontiff's more moderate religious counterparts in the Islamic world have begun to condemn the American raids. Under the present climate John Paul's unprecedented visit last May to the mosque in Damascus would be impossible.

Themes: Now the pope can only focus on the three themes dear to him: humanitarian aid to the Afghan population, an end to the conflict with the introduction of a peace-keeping force and renewed pressure for peace in the Middle East.

SINGAPORE

Straits Times, Singapore, Nov. 7: The United States government's antitrust suit against software giant Microsoft is on its way to a settlement.

It should not be forgotten, though, how Microsoft got into this pickle in the first place. Lest its publicists claim a victory now, it should be remembered that two courts, including a federal appeals court, had found the company guilty of repeatedly abusing its monopoly power by bullying software rivals like Netscape, computer makers like Apple and chip manufacturers like Intel.




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