EU Trade Commissioner and former dodgy UK minister Peter Mandelson has a comment piece in today’s Guardian following the budget summit last week.
“This spells more than an unseemly squabble over money. It goes to the heart of the EU’s purpose and direction, because rethinking the budget has to be part of a much wider debate about what Europe is for and where it is going.”
Less sensible point:
“I believe profoundly that Europe, having solved the problem of the European civil wars of the 20th century, provides the answer to many challenges of the 21st”
Hurrah – let’s echo the controversial trap of suggesting that the EU (which is what I assume Mandy to mean by “Europe” here) has ended wars which caused all that hassle for our dear Communications Commissioner a few weeks back. Let’s specify “European civil wars”, giving an open goal to critics who will suggest this is a rewriting of history with Europe as one country, whereby WWII was little more than an internal European spat. Let’s leave ourselves open to attack with the simple question “what did the EU do to help Yugoslavia?”
Here’s a radical idea. Mandy calls for “open debate”. Yep – that’s great, and certainly needed. But what’s needed rather more is for people with power within the EU’s structure not to spout off with such a silly collection of nonsensical platitudes and overly generalised musings and assertions.
Note to Peter Mandelson: if you haven’t got anything genuinely insightful or useful to add it’s really better to just keep your mouth shut. Any prounouncement from any European Commissioner – especially at the moment – will only be misinterpreted or misrepresented, even if it actually does contain anything genuinely useful. Which your comment piece really doesn’t.
Note to the Commission: the EU’s in a tricky spot at the moment, but it’s not as bad as some may claim. The best thing for you lot to do, as representatives of the most resented institution in the whole thing, is stay out of the limelight. This current confusion is not about what the EU wants for itself, but what the national governments want from the EU. Despite the childishness on display last week they’re more than capable of working it out by themselves – they don’t need any Commissioners to hold their hands. All that will do is add to the irritation.