[Commentary] EU: We want a President; World: Oh, were you talking to us?

by Caela


After the Irish “yes” to Lisbon Treaty, European capitals were swept with speculations as to who would get the top job that Lisbon would create. Think Tanks across the Union worked double time to put forward necessary policy proposals aiming to strengthen the Union. At first ears around the world perked up to hear who would possibly get what is perceived as President of Europe post as the name Tony Blair was uttered across the world’s capitals. Pundits and commentators gave their takes, usually having strong positions (whether pro or con) regarding Blair and his European credentials.

After Lisbon was ratified by all 27 member states, and some member states expressing desire of wanting a secretary general type president who is more of a secretary than a general, the world got bored and moved on. Even when capitals across the Union as well as the European media and think tanks every little crumb of information and gossip, the world’s capitals (more importantly Washington, Beijing, Moscow and Delhi) currently exhibits a near total lack of interest despite the possibility of a president being named by the 19th of this month.

It is in the light of this lack of interest that some Europeans are asking why the world isn’t paying attention. Why the talk on the post that seem to shake European capitals are not being the talk of other capitals — including even sophisticated centers and think tanks.

The answer is simple: the world has seen enough to conclude that the President would likely be chosen by the typical horse-trading process of EU’s leaders that more often than not produces mediocre common denominators and are no longer interested. Face it: the only person who is known outside Europe is Tony Blair. And since the European media says his chances are dimming, I don’t think it is fair to expect the rest of the world to care about unknown Eurocrats whose names they can barely pronounce let alone expect non-European commentators and pundits have anything to say about them. Even before any of them can be appointed to the new role, the world had already yawned in boredom and moved on.

If Europe wants a chairman-like president then the world really does not have to pay attention. The EU president would sit low in the global pecking order of power. (EU leaders who have ambitions to take this post in the future would do well to remember that the post is not upgradeable.) And why should the world pay attention to that? They would rather watch the next episode of Binyamin Netanyahu versus Mahmoud Ahmadinejad drama in the Middle East. Or Barack Obama’s  latest show Afghanistan: To Send  Or Not To Send. Or Kim Jong Il’s latest antics. Or what the Medvedev-Putin love affair would do next. Or Berlusconi’s latest scandal. Or Chavez’ Prepare for War. And even Hu Jintao’s “battle” with the Dalai Lama. Europe would do well to remember: “You are  nothing until you’re talked about!”

4 Responses to “[Commentary] EU: We want a President; World: Oh, were you talking to us?”
  1. And WHO does the world talk about in politics in EUROPE?

    This man, of course. Even if for some of them it’s for the wrong reasons.


    It’ll be for the right reasons if he gets this job.

    There’s a saying – “There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.”

    Tony Blair’s political obituary is premature.

    • Caela says:

      Blair is not dead until he is. What people don’t realize is that the EU needs Blair more than he needs the EU. And other leaders (EU and non-EU) need him there more than he needs them.

  2. Julie says:

    Brilliant post,Caela.
    I love the cynism in the end.

    “EU leaders who have ambitions to take this post in the future would do well to remember that the post is not upgradeable.”

    Absolutely vital point.I hope Super Sarko and Iron Angie understand,since they are both possible future candidates.

    It’s an important decision for the EU.Let’s hope they’ll agree on the right candidate and won’t proceed with the EU’s long history of wrong decision.

    Btw,this is my post on why the Iraq Inquiry is not a reason the reject Tony’s Presidency:


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