Saturday

28th Nov 2020

Chirac invited to taste Finnish and British cooking

  • A lot of plates to choose from (Photo: European Commission)

French president Jacques Chirac was invited to taste British and Finnish cuisine by politicians from the two countries dubbed on Sunday (3 July) as the worst cooks in Europe by the Elysee palace gourmande.

Mr Chirac's remarks on the quality of food, overheard at last weekend's meeting with Moscow and Berlin in Kaliningrad, have a sparked a lively debate in the Uk and Finland.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"One cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad", French daily Le Monde quoted him as saying in hushed tones to the laughing German and Russian leaders.

"The only thing they (the Brits) have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease", added Mr Chirac. "After Finland, it is the country with the worst food".

The British prime minister refused to comment on the jokes, stressing that he was focused on his G8 summit goals instead.

"The G8 is going to focus on really important issues and to be quite honest I'm not going to disparage anybody", Mr Blair stated.

But UK opposition leader Michael Howard suggested he would be happy to prove the French president wrong about British food.

"My constituency is one of the closest in England to France ... I'd like him to come to my constituency, over to Folkestone and Hythe, and I'll take him to some restaurants that will match anything he can see in France", he said according to the BBC.

Finnish-British dinner with French wine

Meanwhile, the French president has also earned an invitation from Finnish MEP Alexander Stubb.

The member sent an open letter to Mr Chirac from his Finnish-British family, as his wife is from the UK, for a dinner at which they would "endeavour to obtain authentic Finnish and British ingredients in order to avoid disappointment".

He also advised the president, as leader of "an esteemed wine-producing country" that he could provide the wines for the dinner himself.

Food was the subject of another diplomatic gaffe in Europe recently, when Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi criticised Finnish cuisine while discussing the EU's new food authority last month.

Meanwhile, French farmers recently launched an initiative to convince the British of the merits of Europe's agricultural aid policies, by greeting UK motorists crossing the channel with organic treats.

Finland prepares culinary wonders for presidency

Finnish cuisine, the subject of many a harsh joke, is to show its best side as the country takes over the EU presidency in from July with forest delicacies and multi-cultural food to be served to visitors.

Von der Leyen tells Poland and Hungary to go to court

Poland and Hungary should ask the EU's top court to assess linking EU funds to the respect of the rule of law instead of blocking the budget and recovery package, the EU Commission chief said, most MEPs backed her up.

German minister predicts rule-of-law solution in 'days'

German foreign minister Heiko Maas said the will be "able to take decisions" in the next few days on the budget and coronavirus recovery fund. Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki will travel to Budapest on Thursday.

Hungary and Poland unfazed by EU outcry over budget block

France's EU affairs state secretary Clement Beaune said his country and Germany are looking into "technical clarifications" on rule-of-law conditionality to resolve the issue, but floated the idea of doing the recovery fund without Poland and Hungary.

News in Brief

  1. Brexit talks pick up pace once more
  2. MEPs back US trade detente
  3. Iran diplomat to stand trial in Belgium over 'France bomb plot'
  4. Trump says he'll leave if Biden wins Electoral College vote
  5. EU Parliament: Polish abortion ban risks womens' lives
  6. UN experts warn against racial profiling
  7. EU auditors raise red flag over maritime protection
  8. Four students charged in France's beheading case

EU pushes back against rising homophobia

The EU Commission plans a proposal to ensure recognition children-parent relations in cross border situations, and legislation to support the mutual recognition of parenthood between member states.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  2. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  4. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector

Latest News

  1. Erdoğan jails hundreds for life, as EU weighs relations
  2. Italian energy giant director advising EU foreign policy chief
  3. Poland and Hungary say rule-of-law link needs treaty change
  4. Portuguese presidency to focus on social rights and India
  5. The under-reported power struggle at the top of the OSCE
  6. Poland hammered on women's rights in EU debate
  7. EU 'front-line' states want clearer migration rules
  8. Von der Leyen tells Poland and Hungary to go to court

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us