In perhaps the least-watched and least-electrifying “election” of recent times, the European Union (EU) today appointed a permanent President and a Foreign Minister.
Described by The Daily Telegraph as a “little-known Belgian federalist and (the) Labour peer who has never held elected office,” the anonymous Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy and the UK’s European Commissioner Baroness Ashton were appointed to the posts by EU leaders over a private dinner in Brussels this evening.
Rompuy – officially from the centre-right of the political spectrum, whatever that means in Belgium – enjoyed the support of France and Germany, who saw his key attributes for the role as (1) unstinting support for further European integration; and (2) invisibility on the world stage; neither Merkel nor Sarkozy are ready to relinquish the spotlight just yet. Ashton’s attributes were simple (1) she was female, center-left and from a large EU member state; and (2) she wasn’t the Iraq-War supporting, American-loving Tony Blair. Divvying-up the posts between left/right, male/female and large/small member states are the way things are done, Brussels-style: there’s no room for merit or democracy in Brussels’ processes.
Catherine Ashton will take office with an international rolodex thinner than the average city councillor. Then again, Herman Van Rompuy will take office without even a job description. The only winner in all of this is self-aggrandizing EU elites who have finally realized the trappings of an EU superstate, albeit without a semblance of credibility or legitimacy.