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The Maoist past of the new commission president. How the EPP group in the European parliament got him the job. And the Irish prefer champagne

By Manneken Pis   August 2004

Once a Maoist? When he was Nato secretary general, George Robertson once amused himself at a White House dinner by regaling George W Bush and Donald Rumsfeld with stories of the radical pasts of their European allies. Robertson started by pointing out that he himself had cut his political teeth demonstrating against American military bases; Javier Solana had opposed Spain joining Nato; Otto Schily, the German interior minister, had been the defence lawyer for the Baader-Meinhof gang. As consternation grew around the dining table, Robertson reached his pi?ce de r?sistance – the Portuguese prime minister, Jos? Manuel Dur?o Barroso, was…

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