More Summits: The EU Solution

by Caela

EU Meeting in Brussels

Left to right: EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Greek Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the European Council President Herman Van Rompuy talk in the EU Council building after a meeting in Brussels, capital of Belgium, Feb. 11, 2010. (Xinhua/Thierry Monasse)

It seems that the past few days was a rather gruelling for EU leaders with hours of squabbling over how to handle the looming Greek tragedy. Then cue left enters EU President, Van Rompuy, who, I have to assume, wanting to lighten the atmosphere, decided to announce that he wants to triple the number of Commission summits from four to 12 a year!

Why oh why must the EU’s answer to everything be to call a pow-wow at which they can take yet another group picture to set on their mantelpieces? No wonder capitals around the world are thinking that the EU is just about huff and puff.

It is a frustratingly common trend for European leaders to equate summits with power. Remember that rotating Spanish President Zapatero is organising no less than fourteen of them for his six month stint. But there comes a time to admit that quality and not quantity should be the key – as the by now infamous ‘Obama snub’ made embarrassingly clear.

By the way, Van Rompuy seems to be on a bit of a roll, holding court in an old library and calling for an EU ‘economic government’, in addition to costing EU taxpayers some £20 million a year.

As I’ve argued before, it would be a mistake to put this guy at the top of a Union that needs to act more and talk less. I’ve been waiting to say this since December 2009: I told you so! This is what you get when you horsetrade for the least common denominator.

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