The European Union is often compared to a bicycle: if it stops moving forwards it will fall over. The bicycle theory also applies to multilateral trade talks.
Hence negotiators keep having meeting after meeting to revive the Doha round, even if they appear only to be inching further down a cul de sac.
Trade ministers chatted in Paris early last week. Then on Thursday and Friday Peter Mandelson, the EU trade commissioner, hosted his counterparts from the US, India and Brazil in Brussels. The talks were, inevitably, “productive”, but just as inevitably did not lead to a breakthrough. You can probably write the closing statement for the next round in June yourself.
In the meantime, the EU ministers are preparing to jump out of the saddle.