Friday 13 November 2009

Intergovernmental EU: Freely cooperating, sovereign nation states

When I wrote the 10 November 2009 blog post EU top nominations: Edifying spectacle, I did not know how soon and how emphatically this picture of “freely cooperating, sovereign nation states” would be confirmed, by Sweden’s prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, the (s)election procedures and Charlemagne’s notebook.

Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who heads the current EU Council presidency, talked about the difficult balancing act:

“We must of course consider the whole Union in this, and look for a balance of candidates based on many different aspects: male or female, from a large or small Member State, in the east or the west, the north or the south".

Reinfeldt emphasised that it is important to have an open dialogue among the heads of state and government about which individuals the EU wants to see in the three posts, but he also stressed that this type of negotiation must not take place via the media.

“It is my job to take responsibility for the process and show respect for the candidates' possible current duties. I have learnt from experience to be careful about speculating on the names being discussed", said Fredrik Reinfeldt (11 November 2009).


Openness between heads of government

Speaking about an open dialogue, Reinfeldt limits it to the charmed circle of heads of state and government.

At national level, these leading politicians are criticised, sometimes unfairly. They often have to take abuse of the worst kind, but the (s)election procedure of the European Council offers the opposite.

Our leaders, with their preferences and aspirations, are treated as tender sucklings, unable to meet the light of day. Their sensitivities are paramount. The citizens of the European Union are like the devotees crowding in Saint Peter’s Square, waiting for a puff of white smoke.


Charlemagne’s notebook

Charlemagne’s notebook shows the guts to stand up for the intergovernmental and diplomatic paradigms, in the blog post The EU top jobs race should be secretive and elitist (12 November 2009).

This is the logical position to take, if you want a union of freely cooperating nation states and national leaders. Opacity, not to say total black-out, is the price to pay, so be happy to pay it, if intergovernmentalism is your persuasion. Don’t whimper!

If you want openness and real EU level democracy, you have to look beyond the Lisbon Treaty.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. The Euroblogs aggregated on multilingual expose the real EUSSR. Read and comment! You can also propose an interesting blog post or a whole new blog (click Contribute).

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