It is a fact long lamented by those two endangered species, British Germanophiles and German Anglophiles: apart from a few pockets of intense co-operation, such as in justice and home affairs, the potential of a German-British partnership has seldom been exploited in European policy. The political impetus to be generated by the German and UK heads of government moving together in elegant tandem has not been realised.
Ron Asmus is currently executive director of the Brussels-based Transatlantic Center. He is also responsible for strategic planning at the German Marshall Fund of the US.
EU leaders have agreed to allow the Czech Republic to opt out of a part of the EU's reform treaty, removing one of the last barriers to ratification. The Swedish EU presidency says talks must now shift to the climate.
Poland has said it wants the new EU president to be a quiet consensus-builder who will not try to aggrandise the post, in what looks like another blow to British candidate Tony Blair.