Saturday, November 21, 2009

No high profile leader for Europe

Well, that is it in a nutshell then; Tony's close friends are saying that he is "entirely happy" bringing peace to the Middle East, democracy to Africa, sorting out global warming and getting all of the planet's various god squads talking to each other and, anyway, with the job description for the  President of the European Council not facilitating Mr Bair's figurehead status, well, he wouldn't have wanted it anyway. Yes, Tony I am also "entirely happy" that you didn't get the job and Tony, there are lots and lots of people who are happy that you didn't get it, including, of course, Angela Merkel.

So, Europe is going for the safe bets and little-known Belgian poetry fan Herman van Rompuy gets the job that Tony didn't want and the great British egos are reconciled with Catherine Ashton, the European commissioner for trade, slipping into the role of foreign policy chief and all of a sudden the same people who didn't want Mr "spin and grin" ego Blair getting the job are complaining that the roles have already been devalued because they have gone to two relative "nobodies" and there is Daniel Cohn-Bendit, co-president of the Green group, saying: ““They (the EU leaders) have followed their weak choice of Commission president with a bland Council president and an unremarkable foreign affairs high representative." Other complaints about Ashton in particular refer to the fact that she has no experience in foreign affairs. Of course, one wonders what experience Westerwelle, Milliband or any of the other EU foreign ministers had of foreign affairs before they actually took office.

The fact is the European Union doesn't want "personalities" like Blair and really do any of us need to be confronted by this hypocrite and liar? Moreover, the shift of power within the EU that a Blair presidency would have entailed is not to be welcomed in the person of this "spin and grin" war criminal who will lend legitimacy and support to an "Uncle Sam" that continues to break international law while exerting far too much influence on Europe. No, Belguim gets the presidency, Britain gets the foreign policy advisor and the other offices that are up for grabs in this "revised" EU where the real power still appears to reside in the different national parliaments .

Nevertheless, for the time being, this shouldn't be seen as being wholly negative and I for one would agree with the 'New York Times' assessment of  Herman van Rompuy's and Catherine Ashton's appointments: "The duo look set to tread a pragmatic path, and supporters said the bloc needed to walk before it could run on the international stage." Yes, learning to walk, developing a common foreign policy for the EU and not rushing strait into Washington's arms, all have to be welcomed. Yes, the appointment of the little known Belgian and the even less known English women might not represent a significant shift of power within the EU for the time being it does mean that an independent Europe can still develop a common foreign policy, which is free from outside interference. One thing is certain and that is that a high profile leader, who has consistently demonstrated that he is a "bad European", is the last thing that Europe needs.

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