EU Lisbon jobs open thread

It’s now clear that the Thierry Henry assist on the William Gallas goal last night is going to generate more commentary and interest than tonight’s filling of the new EU jobs (Council President, High Rep. for Foreign Policy, and Secretary General of the Council), but nonetheless, we could be stuck with these people for a while so no harm in keeping track.  What we know: Tony Blair is out of the running for Council President, but Catherine Ashton who arrived as Trade Commissioner in Mandy’s stead apparently on the inside track for the foreign policy job.  They’re probably still having dinner at the summit and perhaps Irish PM Cowen has already cornered Sarko to argue Ireland’s case from last night, so there could a lot of distractions.  But we’ll keep an eye on it.

UPDATE: Well, that was fast.  Once Blair was out, the deal fell into place.  Herman van Rompuy as Council President.   Almost as soon as Lisbon went live, the countries seem to be working to restrain its institutions.

5 thoughts on “EU Lisbon jobs open thread

  1. And Ashton as foreign not-quite-minister is even worse. She makes Ban Ki-Moon (my previous pick for “world’s worst political appointment”) look like a high-profile rabble-rouser by contrast. The EU just put a big brown paper bag over its head.

    The more I think about this, the more irritated I get. Our only chance to kick-start a pan-European public sphere was to populate the top posts with figures fit to be loved, hated, or at least recognized across Europe. Are the powers that be so afraid of the public that they’re willing to kneecap the European project just to avoid bringing colourful disagreement into Brussels?

  2. Brussels Gonzo flagged the Belgian to me in a communication from Nov. 4; guess I should have put up a post then. (Wer zu spät kommt wird vom Leben selber bestraft.)

    His argument was a classic EU appointment by elimination: A center-right head of government, not from a big country, and not from a new member. That left Sweden and the Benelux states. Luxembourg is just too small, and Sweden holds the presidency right now; he thought that meant both were out of the running. Seven years in office meant that the Dutch PM had had time to make enemies.

    Here’s his view on the eventual winner, “in his ten months as prime minister he has rescued Belgium from the point of institutional collapse which it reached under his disastrous predecessor, and thus has a proven record of getting people with different native languages and very different political perspectives to work together. He won’t be a tremendously high profile EU president, but he will be a consensus-building figure who will make his bits of the institutions work and not interfere with other people’s turf – be that member states or other senior EU officials.”

    Since a small-country Christian democrat got the top job, the number two goes to a big-country social democrat. Brussels Gonzo had expected David Millibrand, but otherwise laid out the process. He was also positive about van Rompuy’s prospects for success.

  3. I actually think these are sensible appointments. I mean, a lot of the Francophone blogs were talking about how it was a shame they couldn’t have…Jean-Claude Juncker! who is the epitome of a dull EU committeeman who somehow is always vice president of something.

    I also disagree that it was an opportunity to have people who’d be loved, hated, etc. Given that they are largely going to be executing policy set by the Commission or the Council, this would just have been more vacuous celebrity politics. Had enough of that. Now they’ll have to earn those emotions.

    Also, the notion of Ashton being incompetent is probably derived from the fact her chief political achievement was Sure Start – i.e. both socialism and women’s work.

  4. The appointments are rather dull figures and it is slightly diminshing for the EU to have to settle with the unknown and inexperienced Ashton in what was meant to be an important role.

    Still, it’s good to have it all wrapped up after the Irish no vote, and to a lesser extent the Czechs and David Cameron. And I think van Rompuy will be an efficient consensus builder and chairman, rather than president, of the Council.

  5. Can you please add a feedblitz or feedburner widget to make it easier for readers to read the blog via email? tx

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