Wer wie ich in diesen Wochen von Berlin nach Riga, der Hauptstadt Lettlands, reist, dem wird rasch offenbar, warum die europäische Integration sich zur Zeit so schwer tut - wenige Monate bevor weitere 10 Staaten der EU beitreten und die Zahl der Mitglieder von einst 6 auf 25 bringen.

Mitte Februar hatte in Berlin Bundeskanzler Schröder seinen französischen und britischen Kollegen zu einem Austausch über den Stand und die Zukunft der Union willkommen geheißen. Die drei erklärten flugs, sie hätten keineswegs vor, ein Direktorium zu bilden; es gehe ihnen lediglich darum, Vorschläge zu machen. Aber zugleich machten sie deutlich, daß sie sich künftig regelmäßig in diesem Dreierclub treffen werden.

Sollten Schröder, Blair und Chirac geglaubt haben, die anderen Mitglieder der EU würden ihnen dies abnehmen, täten sie gut daran, auf meine Gesprächspartner in der alten Hansestadt Riga zu hören. Die drei baltischen Staaten - neben Lettland auch Estland und Litauen - gehören zu den kleinsten Mitgliedern, wenn sie am 1. Mai 2004 der Union beitreten, machen zusammen gerade einmal 6 Millionen aus und damit rund 1,5 % der dann zu erwartenden Gesamtbevölkerung der EU.

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