Monday, 18 May 2009

Europe sells - EU politicians making a national career

There is a tendency to speak disrespectful about politicians going to Brussels and becoming MEPs or Commissioners - as if going to Brussels/Strasbourg/Luxembourg was the end of a career.

But, if the trend is confirmed, EU Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite, who was retiring from office to run in the presidential election campaign in Lithuania, will be yet another example of a politician entering into a high office after a European career: It looks like Ms Grybauskaite will become the first female president of Lithuania, which would also be another important step to put more women into powerful positions in Europe.

After the recent victory of the Lativan MEP Valdis Dombrovskis, who became Latvian prime minister, and after Finnish MEP Alexander Stubb becoming the foreign minister of his country, this is the third time in 14 month that the European institutions help to promote politicians into important national offices.

And I assume that this has happened more than just three times during the last term of the European Parliament and the Commission, so if you have more examples from your countries, I'd be glad hearing about them!

Update: Flasher reminds in the comments that the Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves was also an MEP until October 2006.


Flasher T said...

Toomas Henrik Ilves was an MEP for Estonia before getting elected President. ;)

Julien Frisch said...

Right, that makes the three Baltic States complete. There seems to be a particular North-Eastern dimension to this phenomenon. :-)

Grahnlaw said...

In the long run, circulation between national and European posts - in both directions - builds institutional know-how.

Daniel said...

There are other examples too, not only from the Baltic states:

The Swedish (Cecilia Malmström) and Finnish (Astrid Thors) European affairs Ministers are former MEPs, as well as the Belgian foreign minister Karel De Gucht who was an MEP in the 80's, the Dutch transport minister was an MEP until two years ago, and I am sure there are some Italian examples too.