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Learning English - Words in the News
 
09 June, 2006 - Published 10:14 GMT
 
France UK Summit
 
Blair and Chirac at a previous meeting

The British Prime Minister Tony Blair is meeting the French leader Jacques Chirac for a summit in Paris today. This could be one of their last official meetings, with France already in pre-election fever ahead of next April's polls. This report from Caroline Wyatt:

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The message from the Elysee Palace and from Downing Street is one of harmony, with Tony Blair and the French President in broad agreement on a range of issues.

When the two leaders met in Paris in June last year, they disagreed so publicly over the EU budget that Mr Blair was left holding a press conference on his own, rather than at the Elysee Palace. That won't be happening today. Both men plus a host of accompanying ministers will focus on common ground.

Ways to deal with global climate change and diversify Europe's energy supplies will be near the top of the agenda. The future of the European Constitution will barely feature, as both sides agree that the current pause for reflection should continue, after France's 'No' in the referendum last year.

This could be the two men's final summit together in Paris. Both Jacques Chirac and Tony Blair are seen as leaders in their last terms in office and both seem determined to focus on what unites rather than divides their two nations. The storms that once characterised their relationship seem to have abated, perhaps leading to an unusually serene last summit in Paris.

Caroline Wyatt, BBC, Paris Correspondent

Listen to the words

the Elysee Palace
the official home of the French president

Downing Street
the official home of the British Prime Minister

harmony
pleasant agreement

common ground
things that they agree on

diversify Europe's energy supplies
find more and different ways of getting energy for Europe

the agenda
the official list of things that will be discussed at the meeting

barely feature
not be talked about very much

terms in office
periods in political power

abated
calmed down

serene
calm and peaceful

 
 
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