Tuesday, 10 November 2009

EU top nominations: Edifying spectacle

For the citizens of the European Union, the nominations for the top jobs is an edifying spectacle of how intergovernmentalism works in reality between ”freely cooperating, sovereign nation states”. We are spectators, offered selective leaks and plants, with scant information and no say.

Those who pine for intergovernmental cooperation should be overjoyed. Since they reject EU level democracy, they have no cause to complain when 27 heads of government or state discuss and decide behind closed doors, unable even to set a date for the decisions, much less to agree on open (s)election criteria and procedures, or information about the candidates in running for the posts.

The European Council is the electoral college, fine! This is how they have written the Lisbon Treaty, and this is how intergovernmental cooperation works.

If national sovereignty is your blanket and nationalism your pillow, sleep on. Don’t wake up to holler about people power, because you want none of it outside your home country.

Let our leaders select their president (“chairman” in several language versions of the Lisbon Treaty), their high representative for their intergovernmental foreign affairs and security policy and their secretary-general of the Council, where they continue their noble tradition of opaque dealing.

Because Sweden’s prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is a decent sort of chap, he will inform us when he and the other leaders are close enough to a deal.

The results will be published.


Recommended reading

While waiting for further announcements, you could read Jean Quatremer on Coulisses de Bruxelles: Président du Conseil européen: habemus papam ? (10 November 2009).

For those who are specially afflicted by incompatible views against EU level democracy and for a “strong personality”, such as The Economist’s, I recommend Honor Mahony’s blog post: Crunch time (9 November 2009).

If you still have spare time on your hands, I suggest that you look for the latest reports from Britain detailing prime minister Gordon Brown’s lose-lose determination to promote Tony Blair and refusal to nominate David Miliband. Failing intelligible explanations, mysterious forces must be at work in the Downing Street 10 bunker.

Ralf Grahn

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