A new leader for Europe

A new leader for Europe


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The French Presidency is scheduled to be concluded in Strasbourg next Tuesday, the place where it was started six months earlier unless; the Strasbourg ceremony envisaged by President Nicolas Sarkozy is only the beginning of a new type of informal rule of Europe. With the socio-economic crisis deepening and widening, the struggle of the Czech Republic to remain under the American umbrella and the mere fact that the Czech Republic is not a part of the Eurozone combined with the political vacuum in Brussels, will more than likely make the Czech presidency not more than a public relations exercise.
Last week’s summit secured two things. The Lisbon Treaty, which given the ongoing crisis is imperative, and a new president for the European Commission.
Although many facets related to the Lisbon Treaty are yet unclear, the Treaty will enter into force soon, with the Irish, either ratifying it or “getting the hell out of Brussels,” as a French friend put it very realistically in a conversation in the corridors of Berlaymont, last week.
Jose Manuel Durao Barroso is unlikely to be re-appointed president of the European Commission as he did not receive the much expected nomination from the European People’s Party, last week. New Europe had anticipated such a development for some time, despite some signs that President Barroso had almost gotten such a nomination when someone from Angela Merkel’s entourage, during an interval of the previous EPP summit put the issue on the table as a question. Jose Barroso took the opportunity, transformed the question into an affirmative statement but made the mistake of presenting himself as a transparty candidate. The leader of European Socialists, Martin Schultz, took advantage of the “generous offer” of the president and welcomed the trans-party candidate, being aware that the socialists will not win the coming election.
Therefore, “sharing” the Commission’s presidency while knowing that had no chance to do so otherwise. Meanwhile, the European People’s party could have it alone; Barroso’s move made EPP leaders furious. These are things that New Europe reported a long time ago and the only reason we repeat ourselves is to place the issue in context.
Nicolas Sarkozy was very nice with Jose Barroso during the summit but did not grant the much expected nomination despite Angela Merkel being ready to endorse it. Yet, the nomination was gone with the wind and it seems that the president himself was prepared for that, hoping till the last moment that things could change. As the saying goes: ‘hope’ always dies last.
If the selection of the new president of the European Commission was to be decided now, and this dynamic is unlikely to change, the best chances would be with French Prime Minister François Fillon. President Nicolas Sarkozy is taking bold initiatives on the European chessboard and attempting to revitalize the golden French years of the late Francois Mitterrand presidency of France (1981-1995) with Commission’s presidency by Jacques Delors (1985-1995).
Nicolas Sarkozy is ambitious, innovative, decisive, intelligent, highly political and is a man of bold initiatives. We have seen that with the riots in France, the crisis in Georgia last August and with the socio-economic crisis. On the other hand, François Fillon whose popularity is dangerously increasing in France, can prove the right man for the job at the right moment. Angela Merkel will certainly not oppose a Sarkozy choice and certainly will not fight for Barroso despite the latter taking on as a kind of “subcontracting” the violation of EU law to make her happy… as if he were crossing orange traffic lights.
(To mention the latest, The Legal Service of the European Commission, invents all kind of things in order to not release documents compromising a major German company despite the European Court of Justice explicitly ordering their release!)
The most important element, is that François Fillon’s candidacy will be fully supported by the United Kingdom since he is considered a great Anglophile in continental Europe. A former Professor of the London School of Economics, married to the British solicitor Penelope Kathryn Clarke, the younger sister of whom Jane, is married to his younger brother Pierre.

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