Corridors of Power: the EU-U.S. Summit, Cornet Wales and More

Corridors of Power: the EU-U.S. Summit, Cornet Wales and More

WELL-VERSED DIPLOMATS -- What would Talleyrand make of next week's European Union poetry marathon in Washington? The accommodating 19th century French diplomat, who managed to serve in succession the French revolutionary government, Napoleon, and the restored monarchy without missing a beat, advised "Pas trop de zele" (not too much zeal, or don't go overboard) in his profession. But on May 5, diplomats from the EU's 27 member states will spout 136 poems from their respective countries, together with translations, over five hours -- and that involves a lot of zeal.
For those who miss the marathon, the poems will also be displayed on D.C. Metro buses and in Metro stations throughout the month of May. It's all part of an EU campaign to raise the U.S. public's awareness of what the union is all about. On May 9, EU ambassadors will deploy in Washington-area schools to teach students about the organization, which is marking its 50th anniversary this year. Then on May 12, several European embassies will be open to the public.

The poetry readings were launched modestly a couple of years ago by the smaller EU embassies -- Malta, Cyprus, the Baltic countries, etc. -- as a way of gaining some attention in a very crowded diplomatic field (There are more than 200 embassies in Washington). With 25 languages -- ranging from Maltese to Lithuanian -- spoken in one afternoon, the Europeans are out to show that political and economic union has not robbed the member states of their cultural diversity.

NOT MUCH POETRY AT THE EU-U.S. SUMMIT, THOUGH -- President George Bush Monday meets with the EU leadership for their annual summit in Washington, and it would be music to European ears if he commits Washington to the Kyoto Protocol. But that isn't one of the meeting's imponderables: It just isn't going to happen.

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