Thursday 19 November 2009

A massive disgrace: van Rompuy and Baroness Ashton for European Council President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy?

Update: See the "Europe in blogs - Euroblogs" post with over 40 blog reactions from all over the euroblogosphere!

The day is (almost) ruined, the nightmare seems to have become reality.

On Twitter and in several news sources we can hear that the faceless Belgian prime minister Herman van Rompuy has been officially proposed to the heads of state and government to become the first permanent European Council president.

In the same sources, Catherine Margaret Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland is told to be proposed as future High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

If this double ticket will be confirmed, this Thursday, 19 November 2009, will have been one of the worst in the history of the European Union, because this would mean that we get the "Troika of Death and Boredom".

With van Rompuy we get an unknown European Council president without European or international profile and without the strength to oppose the national leaders, and a "Foreign Minister" who is female but clearly not qualified for the job.

Ashton wasn't qualified to become EU Commissioner (let me remind of Nosemonkey's and Jon Worth's articles when she was nominated a year ago) and within one year she has had no impact at all, neither in the area of trade nor elsewhere. She has, as van Rompuy, no European or international profile, and they won't be able to inspire the EU or bring our Union forward.

If the two are confirmed, the heads of state and government have insulted all European citizens, they have spit into our faces and they have ruined any dynamic that the Lisbon Treaty might have created. It would be a disgrace, a massive disgrace!!!

We won't be silent, no, we won't be silent!


Jon Worth said...

Ashton is not that bad, but she's not that good either. See my thoughts on that. My opinion of her has improved recently. But I am still astounded we have ended up with this...

Julien Frisch said...

I think it is for good reasons that she hasn't been among the hypothetic candidates - not even the female ones - before today.

Unknown said...


I'm not sure why your unhappy. You got your Lisbon Treaty, now you get to live with the results. Leaders you don't like, nor that you have any influence over choosing.

Its like the 12% approval rating the US congress maintains. The 2 major parties pick the winners before the election and almost one no is happy with the result. No one is really represented in democracy, everyone is made equally powerless to chose the people that influence policy over vast swaths of their personal and professional lives.

M.G. said...

I contend that other candidates would have been even worse. For instance I have in mind Mr. D'Alema for Mr. PESC. Thus they simply chose the "least" damaging and intrusive.

Mathias Schwartz Kirkegaard said...

I would have preferred someone like Vaclav Havel: A person with an interest in philosophy, ideologi and culture. Something else than the common technocratic politician. A guy/woman with a wider scope.

This Belgian guy have written books about philosophy and religion. He writes philosophical haiku-poetry. Maybe he's not that bad?

Julien Frisch said...

Well, yes, maybe it is a good sign that van Rompuy is not the kind of politicians on tends to have in the EU, but I still think he's not the right guy to tame the European Council egos.

But I'd like to be mistaken.

TheBoilingFrog said...

I echo OrangeCorner's comment, I'm not sure why you are surprised or indeed astounded by this.

This is what happens when unelected institutions make decisions based on deals and favours, with no democratic systems to keep them in check. The Soviet Politburos were a classic example of this.

We won't be silent, no, we won't be silent!

No doubt you won't be, but what can you do? Vote them out?

The EU has been spitting in the faces of its citizens for years, and the Lisbon Treaty / Constitution will only this problem worse. You're going to have to live it I'm afraid.

Dave said...

Hardly a 'disgrace'. Those who opposed Blair now complain that van Rompuy's too low profile. Those who want a woman in a top job now complain because one has been chosen. You can't have it both ways.

Cathy Ashton is pretty astute, and a good choice as commissioner. She's maybe not High Rep material, but I'm prepared to give her a chance - and I think she has the capacity to surprise.

Julien Frisch said...

I am not surprised as you might see from my post on that matter on Wednesday.

And I don't blame van Rompuy/Ashton, I am sure they will try to do their best on the job, and they have all the support to do it good.

Still, for anyone in favour of the European project those two names, how professional they might be, will raise no interest at all among citizens, they are not the personalities that can guide the Union, that are able to provoke the debates we need in order to raise accountability of what happens in Brussels.

So I am not really surprised, rather angry that I was right in my pre-decision analysis - and I'll give the dream team their months to show that I was right again. :-)

Unknown said...

I am shocked by your scream. May I remind you that you do not speak for ALL EU
citizens (as in ..[they] have insulted all European citizens).

I am not insulted at all. Considering this:

Hair blows in the wind
After years there is still wind
Sadly no more hair

I actually like the guy.
And he is no wimp either. He locked the
assembly hall, when he was chairman of
the assmble and so prevented dis-integration of Belgium.

If Havel would do that, we would still have Czechoslovakia .

Mathias Schwartz Kirkegaard

Havel has rather extrem views lately - on Gruzia etc ..

Julien Frisch said...

@ Petr

Sorry, didn't want to speak in anyone's name, was just very angry that evening.

The "spitting in the face of all European citizens" was pointing at the fact that the decision was clearly dominated by national and less by European considerations. It meant that the European Council didn't select candidates for who stand for a European citizenship but for ones that do not disturb the intergovernmental logic - their power.

But if you see my following blog posts (especially the one yesterday) you will see that I don't remain angry that I go back to more analytical stuff.

Yet it must be allowed to scream when you are angry, European leaders have to realise that there are citizens who actually care. That evening was the evening to scream, now it's time to follow closely what happens in reality.

Unknown said...

Do not hesitate to scream, when angry
particularly as long as you do it (silently) on the web.

Those old men may know from experience, that sometime going slowly, gets you there faster.

It all simply means that now is the time to start writing EU constitution, which would take wer away from the council and commission and give it to parliament
(where it belongs).i

It took US 11 years to move from
Independence to Constitution ..

During that time Colonies were run bu governors