Aznar’s last meeting with Europe’s leaders

Aznar attended his last meeting with European leaders today, when the EU met to discuss issues related to the new European Union Constitution and terrorism. According to el Pais, European leaders have appealed to the United Nations to adopt a greater role in the transition of Iraq.

Aznar has appeared in a press conference after the meeting to reiterate his position against withdrawing Spanish troops from Iraq. He repeated that governments should not be seen to be giving in to terrorism – despite the fact that international public opinion is increasingly rejecting the thesis that Zapatero will take a soft line on terrorism and is accepting the fact that his decision to withdraw troops from Iraq was part of the PSOE manifesto long before the terrorist attacks in Madrid. Spanish troops will remain in Iraq under the Socialist government if the United Nations is in control of the transition by June.

Yesterday, in his first meeting with Zapatero since the elections (and, as many Spanish reporters stated today, in the first meeting to be conceded to Zapatero by the Spanish President in the past 14 months even though the Socialist leader asked to have an audience with Spain’s outgoing President on various occasions last year), Aznar asked the future President of Spain to submit in writing his opinion about what should happen next month when the Spanish soldiers in Iraq should be relieved by colleages from Spain.

The future Defense Minister, Jose Bono, has said today that it is the first time that an outgoing government has ever asked for a written document to determine an incoming government’s policy on something which has already been decided anyway.

Today the PSOE held its first executive meeting since the last elections. Zapatero repeated his determination to respect all opinions, whether or not they coincide with Socialist policies, but he rejected the thesis that the Spanish electorate’s vote was determined by terrorism.

Meanwhile, just when Spring appeared to have arrived in Spain, suddenly the weather has taken a turn for the worse and there is snow on mountains overlooking Alicante. Bad weather is expected to continue for at least two days, and for the next week weather will be unsettled, so all holidaymakers planning on coming to the Mediterranean for their Easter holidays are advised to include at least one jersey and a waterproof in their suitcase.