European leaders will meet for dinner tomorrow for a special summit to decide who will become the first permanent EU president and the new EU foreign minister. With the ink barely dry on the illegitimate Lisbon Treaty, EU elites are rushing with indecent haste to anoint the next leaders of Europe. And in typical EU fashion, negotiations over who will become the formal ‘faces of Europe’ will be conducted behind closed doors with zero public input.
Although there is a small chance that the 27 European heads of state and government won’t be able to reach agreement, the free-flowing wine and smoke-filled backrooms of Brussels will likely provide ample opportunity for a dodgy political deal to be struck between the left and right to divvy up the posts. And if any one nation becomes too obstructionist – such as Poland who has annoyed EU officials by calling for candidates to be interviewed – the appointments can be made by majority vote. The EU hasn’t let democracy get in the way of creating these unelected posts, so why bother with it now?
Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy has the all-important backing of France and Germany for the Presidency, making him the front runner for the post. Americans will be scratching their heads asking “Herman who?” 99 per cent of Europeans will be wondering too. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had been floated as a candidate, but his unequivocal support for the transatlantic relationship makes him distinctly ‘Uneuropean’ to several member states. And he had the temerity to support the Iraq War which still sends chills up the spine of Brussels’ left wing peaceniks.
Other possible contenders include Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, former prime minister of Sweden Carl Bildt, prime minister of Luxembourg Jean-Calude Junker and outside runner, former Latvian president Vaira Vike-Freiberga. Bookies are still taking bets on a dark horse candidate, the former Irish prime minister, John Bruton. Most Americans and Europeans will continue to scratch their heads, asking “Who?” Only Tony Blair has any sort of international name recognition which is probably another reason to count him out; Sarkozy et al. aren’t likely to want to share that much limelight.
Speculation about the foreign affairs post is less excited, largely because much will depend on who will get the President’s post. If the post is filled by someone from a small country, on the right of the political spectrum, then the foreign minister will likely someone from a large country on the left of the political spectrum. Of course, the EU hasn’t thought about getting the best person for the job; meritocracy does not exist in the EU’s lexicon.
The road that’s been traveled to reach this point has been a long one for the EU. These posts, created in the EU Constitution were twice rejected in public referenda. Reconstituted by the Lisbon Treaty, they were again rejected in another referendum in Ireland. But having bullied, threatened and cajoled the final hold-outs, it looks as if EU elites will finally get its prized offices of State, absent any sort of public support, legitimacy or credibility.