Sunday 31 January 2010

Social media, the EU-USA summit & the question who will be important

By chance I saw that there is a Facebook group supporting that the coming EU-USA Summit will not take place in Madrid but in Brussels.

This seems to be part of the power struggle between the institutions after the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty that foresees the weakening of the rotating Council presidency in favour of the permanent European Council President Herman van Rompuy.

I agree that a summit in Brussels might be more natural, but why having everything in Brussels - our Union is more diverse than the faceless Eurodistrict!

But there is more story to the EU-USA summit:

The main German online news Spiegel Online also reported yesterday that the summit in Madrid is seeing extreme diplomatic battles over who will shake Obama's hand first - Zapatero or van Rompuy - and who will sit next to the US President during the dinner later on.

According to the news, van Rompuy's team offered to Zapatero that he may have the first handshake while the European Council President will sit on the right side of Obama, Barroso will sit on the left and Zapatero will sit opposite to the US-President, a position without camera exposure.

If anyone from the Council or the Council presidency is reading this: I don't care where the summit is, but this kind of diplomatic bullshit that you spend your time (and thus our money) on is ridiculous!

Update: It seems to be confirmed as it has found its way into national media what Blaat has already written in the comments - that Obama apparently won't come to the summit which isn't much of a summit anymore if the president is missing. And there are sources quoted saying that it was exactly this kind of diplomatic comedy about who has the bigger ... that made the American side decide not to come on highest level.


Ralf Grahn said...


It sounds stupid, but these things still have to be sorted out.

In my humble opinion, if the President of the US attends a summit with the European Union, the EU is the one who is represented (whoever handles catering locally).

Linda Margaret said...

This is hilarious--I really look forward to seeing what the next great diplomatic battle will be.

Mathias Schwartz Kirkegaard said...

"whoever handles catering locally"

That was a good one :)

Blaat said...

And according to EUobserver, President Obama will most likely skip the meeting.

Julien Frisch said...


This will ease some diplomatic questions... ;-)