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Discussion in 'Politics' started by Jason, Nov 19, 2009.
What do we make of his election as president?
That Belgians are the best :biggrin:
But that is old news :wink:
He's an extremely promising prospect, Belgium is a country in which concensus is a vital part of government, it can be an extremely fractious and divided country, he has a proven track record of being able to negotiate compromise between Belgium's different groups and those in the know suspect he will be equally as good at building healthy consensus within the EU to restore some sense of unity of purpose and action within it.
Actually I mean what he says :wink:
Good post Hilaire
That the leaders of Europe want to keep the post of POTEU low key? I think one of the strikes against Blair was that he had a high profile and would could grabbed some of their power. They are more comfortable with another grey eurocrat who will not be any kind of threat to them.
He's just made a speech which includes:
"Every country should emerge victorious from negotiations. A negotiation that ends with a defeated party is never a good negotiation. I will consider everyone's interests and sensitivities. Even if our unity remains our strength, our diversity remains our wealth".
Previously he has expressed views on Turkey joining the EU:
"Turkey is not a part of Europe and will never be part of Europe. An expansion of the EU to include Turkey cannot be considered as just another expansion as in the past ... The universal values which are in force in Europe, and which are fundamental values of Christianity, will lose vigour with the entry of a large Islamic country such as Turkey."
He's hardly a Eurocrat he's the former democratically elected primeminister of Belgium, with as much right to be respected for his CV as any other EU leader. At least part of the horror surrounding the whole position of EU president was that it would create some fantastical EU autocrat who would seek to undermine national sovereignty and democracy, you can't have it both ways, either its a good thing that instead of the likes of Tony Blair ( who never stood a chance btw) we have someone interested in atcually acting in congruance with national democracy and consensus building or it's not.
Whether you agree or disagree with his views on Turkey ( I disagree completely myself ) in fact his new position will give him absolutely no say whatsoever in whether or not Turkey ever joins the EU, and in any event his opinions expressed as the primeminister of Belgium will necessarily be different or at least highly moderated as president of the EU since he will no longer be speaking purely for Belgium but instead for the entire EU which most certainly does not agree with him tout court. He will be required to address such issues from a completely different perspective and with a completely different set of responsibilities upon him.
His record suggests that in fact he will be more than capable of fulfilling those responsibilities.
The easy bit is that he's not Blair. Blair would have been wrong in so many ways.
Van Rompuy has a solid CV. He clearly has qualities. This much is good. But surely a concern is that he has come to power through the EU equivalent of the Cardinals electing the Pope in the secrecy of the Sistine Chapel. We have no idea quite what arms have been twisted or what deals have been done. The BBC are saying that the agreement was that the centre right decided on the president and the centre left the foreign position.
I disagree with his views on Turkey, but think he's probably an ok appointment. To have someone low profile suits me too, lol.
He's known as a bit of a federalist, but I doubt he'd push the EU on the world stage anywhere near as much as Blair. Still can't help thinking they'll opt for Blair in a term or two, to ratchet up the EU profile a bit, maybe when ppl have got used to the new President's role.
Baroness Ashton is the Foreign Minister, I believe. I hardly know who the bloody hell she is, lol.
Also, the new posts aren't really of any benefit to Belgium or the UK, imo. They have to swear allegiance to the EU, and that's who they'll be working for.
Jase: Yep, I'm relieved it ain't Emperor Blair.
Irrespective of what his powers might really be this is going to send a message to Turkey.
I do think EU insiders tend to want it to be a strictly Christian club....
The UK I think want to dilute the Franco-German axis by widening rather than deepening the EU with the inclusion of Turkey, etc.
She has an interesting career path - she has never been elected to any political office.
And she still hasn't, lol...
Like I said, as EU president he wont be able to send any kind of message to Turkey which has not previously been agreed to by the majority of the EU. Besides he's not in a minority in thinking that about Turkey. I personally think it's potty since there have been extremely large communities of muslims throughtout southern and south eastern europe for more than a thousand years now and they are as much a part of europe as anyone else.
But Turkey knows there are those who oppose its possible accession on those or similar grounds anyway, its hardly a surprise to Turkey. Currently Turkish accession isn't really on the radar anyway, and the most vital task ahead of the EU is to re-focus itself and to reunify itself internally after some years of drift and dispute.
Van Rompuy wont be president forever, and right now he appears to have the skill set necessary to deal with the really pressing problems which his position puts in his purview. Turkish accession is an issue which will probably not figure terribly highly during his presidency.
I think EU insiders are a little more prosaic actually Joll old chap :wink: I think EU insiders a rightly wary of opening up land borders with Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan. That entire region has been wracked by intermitent and in some cases highly bloody warfare and chaos of various kinds over the course of the last twenty years.
Lmao - oops. Yup..some of those considerations might be part of it, too.
Actually I find the idea of an EU that excludes Turkey almost too comfortable. I do think that the admission of a large Islamic country would cause major changes that I probably wouldn't like. And I take the point about unstable regions to the east.
But then I wonder if this is a lack of faith. Turkey is a large Islamic country with a secular government and a democracy that is functioning. And we are going to solve the problems of the Middle East, aren't we? If we don't admit Turkey are we not creating a fortress Europe? A situation of "we're all right, heathen keep out"?
If I can sign up to the EU vision at all (and I do struggle with this!) it would be as an EU that stretched to the Russian Pacific, included Turkey and Georgia and Armenia, and Israel.
Well I don't think we have any business interfering in western Asia whatsoever, the history of european involvement in that region is disastrous and in no way qualifies the european union to sort out anything there.
I do personally think Turkey should one day be admitted, and I completely agree with you that the EU should one day include European Russia and the Caucasus, though why we would claim Central Asia or Siberia as European is completely beyond me, as is Israel I'm afraid.
Israel and North Africa, etc are included in the EU's sphere of influence under the Neighbourhood Policy. I think that gives them some access to the single market, in return for certain reforms and taking on of EU regulations/standards.
I agree with taking on board Turkey - I'm not sure it would cause as much difficulty as people are worried about, although it would be difficult admitting such a large, poor country. Giving it voting weight in proportion to it's size would distort things too much initially, so another solution would have to be found.
I do think excluding Turkey and other fringe statesdoes smack of an old europe, christian club (especially considering the recent inclusion of Serbia/Montenegro and Macedonia into the Schengen visa system, but not Albania, Kosovo, or any majority muslim areas. Altho, this is ostensibly to do with readiness I guess....for the moment).
I think they see Turkey as a buffer between the EU and less stable states, but I think its inclusion would be more likely to promote an EU as a collection of allied nations, rather than a traditional old Europe superstate/empire.