Saturday, November 21, 2009

Euro Notes: The New EU President and Return of Courtiers and Mandarins?

The Belgian politician Herman Van Rompuy is the new (and unanimously selected) President of the EU, but some Euroskeptics aren't too happy with the process that put him into that office. Blurb from one critic:
A modern parody of absolute monarchy and the divine right of kings is being staged in Europe right now. The 27 heads of the executive — some of them presidents, others prime ministers — in the countries of the EU are in the process of choosing the president or fixed term head of state in the EU, as mandated by the new constitution that has just been ratified.

We have lately witnessed the primaries, television debates and nation-wide electioneering to which candidates for the American presidency have to submit. This reveals the character of those standing for high office. In Europe, by contrast, the 27 heads of state form an exclusive electoral roll of their own. At this very moment, each one of them is wholly employed telephoning the other 26, trying to find out who is going to vote for whom, to canvass for their candidate, and to discover some means of influencing or discreetly buying votes. The people of Europe will never know the true ins and outs of this horse-dealing, but tomorrow or within a few days if more time is needed, they will be presented with the winner. The Bourbon-Parmas and the Hohenzollerns would thoroughly appreciate the closed-doors intimacy of the selection, especially the total elimination of any participation by their hapless subjects.
Well, that doesn't sound too appetizing, does it? Still, I don't envy Herman Van Rompuy his job. It'll be like herding cats. In over 20 different languages.

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