Europe's Grey Move

The massed ranks of euro-sceptics could, if they had a mind to, breathe a small sigh of relief this evening. The announcement of which two politicians are going to take on the shiny new pan-European roles created by the Lisbon Treaty - that of President and the ludicrously named 'High Representative' - has sent most people racing to their political almanacks to find out who on earth they are. To be fair, Herman van Rompuy, the Belgian premier now destined for greater things as President of Europe, has apparently been a much liked, and very able, prime minister of a nearly disintegrating Belgium. Baroness Ashton, however, Labour's successfully nominated High Representative, has barely been heard of in her own country, and certainly never done anything as undignified as stand for election. She appears to have been appointed as a bit of a trade-off in the dinner meeting that made the appointments, but the fact is that neither she nor her new boss have the personal authority or standing to do much more than travel round the world trading niceties. Europe is not going to turn into a superstate on their watch, and that at least should comfort the doom-sayers who thought we were suddenly and irreparably going to fall under the iron sway of a charismatic Brussels government. Europe remains a conglomeration of independent minded sovereign states - as it was always going to.


Comrade Major said…
Well the Europeans like Lady Ashton in Brussels at least for being conciliatory and not abrasive. Standing for election does not need to be a requirement: ability should be good enough. Anyway, it's not like it was fair democratic election anyway and Tony Blair would not have been elected for 4 years had he gained power. But if they think that the Baroness Ashton is suited for the choice, it is up to them: after all is that not the idea of the modern British peerage - to allow the able and the expert into government without having to fight through 30 years of party politicking. Her marriage to the president of YouGov is irrelevant :).

Perhaps she will prove a decent counter-weight to a possible Eurosceptic Tory government. Only time will tell what she and Van Rompuy will make of their posts. That is up to them: they mould history.

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