March 23, 2010
“HOW many presidents does it take to represent the EU at a diplomatic conference? Three. That’s the number of European “leaders” going to future G20 talks.” (The Sunday Express Comment)
Former US Foreign secretary Henry Kissinger once asked what’s the EU’s phone number. Few months ago EU finally started to act according the Lisbon Treaty with promises that it would make the EU more streamlined in reaching objective that the EU should speak with one voice. Seems it didn’t.
The Sunday Express reported following:
Under the treaty terms, an obscure Belgian politician, Herman Van Rompuy, was appointed EU president and meant to represent all the people in the EU. He doesn’t. His jealous rival, Commission president José Barroso, will accompany him to the talks as will, at times, the head of state holding the rotating presidency of the European Council. No wonder foreign leaders are confused. Politically, the EU is a joke.
Mr Van Rompuy, the former Belgian prime minister dismissed last month by Ukip MEP Nigel Farage as a “damp rag” and a “low-grade bank clerk”, is the permanent president of the European Council. That means he has overall responsibility for foreign policy and security matters.And while the commission’s President Barroso will speak on climate change, there are a number of areas where their responsibilities overlap. One is energy, which is considered both a security and a commission policy area. Only when these circumstances arise will the pair of presidents decide who is to speak, however.
So even three EU presidents to one summit? Is this the last final nail in the coffin of the Lisbon Treaty aim to clarify the positions of EU? How about baroness Ashton, doomed to be a bystander? It seems that instead EU’s phone number Brussels will send a phone book to Washington, Moscow and Beijing.
After top post EC selection I concluded in my article “EU foreign policy in relation of EC selections”following:
The appointments may be good or bad depending which European perspective one likes most. Besides EC bureaucracy and puppet parliament we now have two more officials without authority, respect and proven skills at top level international politics. This means that big players are still calling to London, Berlin and Paris instead of Brussels. For Euro-sceptics this guarantees that EU will not be a key player in international politics its role will be controlling citizens with directives in small details, an discussion forum for joint economical actions.
There is urgent need to streamline EU foreign policy, EC and European External Action Service (EEAS) for implementing Lisbon ideas. Otherwise EU must wait similar situations as e.g. in “Floppenhagen” COP15. Of course if the whole EEAS, with its €6 billion a year development budget to squander, is such a joke than the nomination of Ashton allows to understand so nothing needs to be done and decline of EU as actor in international politics can continue so that the union can concentrate to its core function as distributor of agricultural funds. Is it good or bad depends from the viewpoint.
“I’ve always questioned whether the construction would work… the post [EU foreign minister] is set up in a way that makes it virtually impossible.” (Carl Bild)