So, it’s looking like it’s lightweight, little-known Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy for the President of the European Council, and lightweight, little-known Baroness Ashton (current UK European Commissioner, Peter Mandelson’s almost invisible replacement) for the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
Two no-marks, for two jobs that many have claimed are among the most powerful in the world.
Does anyone seriously believe that Van Rompuy has what it takes to impose his will over the likes of Sarkozy, Merkel and Berlusconi in Council meetings?
The Presidency of the European Council has been described by many as “President of the EU”, with many imagining that because of this its holder will have powers akin to that of the US President.
The High Representative for Foreign Affairs has likewise been talked up as “EU Foreign Minister”, meaning many take it to be akin to the US Secretary of State.
But where America gets Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, we get Andy Pandy and Looby Loo.
Yet more proof of where the real power lies in the EU: Not in EU institutions or the corridors of Brussels, but with the governments of the member states. For it is the heads of the member state governments who have agreed this pair of no-marks – and the only explanation I can think of is that the governments of the member states want these two new roles to be as powerless and unimportant as possible, so as to maintain their own power.
So much for the Lisbon Treaty ushering in the end of national sovereignty and the dawn of an EU superstate. With these two appointments, the EU has been effectively neutered as a state-like world power. Eurosceptics can rest easy in their beds.