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An unexpected election result in Poland has thrown Chirac a lifeline. Speaking Portuguese is suddenly fashionable. And farewell John Palmer

By Manneken Pis   January 2006

Poland changes sides

A few months ago it seemed the most durable of alliances: two Eurosceptic and pro-American nations standing up to the continent’s federalists. But following unexpected election results in Poland and a fierce wrangle over the EU’s budget, Britain’s privileged relationship with Warsaw is being usurped by the French.

Polish politicians have not forgotten Jacques Chirac’s wounding slight in the run-up to the Iraq war; the French president told the countries of central and eastern Europe that they had missed a good opportunity to keep quiet. And they know that Britain, almost alone in the EU, opened its…

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