Monday 5 October 2009

No EU President

We have heard voices warning that blogging is dumbing down mankind, as opposed to real newspaper journalism.

They have not read British tabloids on EU affairs, as Nosemonkey and this blog have pointed out.

The European Citizen and Kosmopolito have given sound advice to journalists about what the new President of the European Council is and is not.


What if we actually have the contrary problem? What if some of the tabloids with the largest readerships are the ones not only indoctrinating the public, but systematically misrepresenting the facts to advance their own(ers’) agenda?

What if fairly modest blogs are the place to go for correct information and intelligent comment?


The Financial Times is an exception among British newspapers, but ...

Even the quality FT Brussels blog has asked readers to suggest the person to become “the European Union’s first full-time president”. The first comment was by Kosmopolito, who reminded readers of what the new job is about.


President of the European Council

Let us go back to the basics. This is what the Lisbon Treaty says about the new job:

Article 15(5) and (6) Treaty on European Union (TEU)

5. The European Council shall elect its President, by a qualified majority, for a term of two and a half years, renewable once. In the event of an impediment or serious misconduct, the European Council can end the President's term of office in accordance with the same procedure.

6. The President of the European Council:

(a) shall chair it and drive forward its work;

(b) shall ensure the preparation and continuity of the work of the European Council in cooperation with the President of the Commission, and on the basis of the work of the General Affairs Council;

(c) shall endeavour to facilitate cohesion and consensus within the European Council;

(d) shall present a report to the European Parliament after each of the meetings of the European Council.

The President of the European Council shall, at his level and in that capacity, ensure the external representation of the Union on issues concerning its common foreign and security policy, without prejudice to the powers of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The President of the European Council shall not hold a national office.


The fine print of the tasks of the new chair has not been published or decided officially, but as Eurocentric has pointed out, this is not an executive President.

When suggesting or discussing candidates, it is advisable to know the job description.

Ralf Grahn

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