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Most people would rather forget why European leaders agreed to hold an extraordinary summit in Dublin this October. Ask the Irish hosts and they offer knowing smiles. At the European commission, fonctionnaires seek refuge behind the old clich? about “relaunching” Europe, as if the EU had spent the last six months in dry dock.

Overriding objections from the Irish presidency, Captain Jacques Chirac is the man steering a course for a mid-autumn meeting. Like Fran?ois Mitterrand and General de Gaulle, Chirac likes nothing better than to sit down informally with fellow leaders and swap stories, although the word is that…

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