The Great Debate UK
- Alain Délétroz is Vice President Europe at the International Crisis Group, www.crisisgroup.org. The opinions expressed are his own. -
There is a sumptuous feast happening in Brussels, but some are better fed than others. What to many may seem an indigestible alphabet soup of new EU institutions dealing with foreign policy after the Lisbon treaty, is actually a smorgasbord of patronage, favour and influence.
Britain may feel it has done well to get the spot at the head of the table in the form of new High Representative Catherine Ashton, but in reality the French and Germans seem to be the ones setting the menu.
Currently at issue is an organ called the Crisis Management Planning Directorate (CMPD), which is intended to be at the very heart of Ashton’s External Action Service — essentially the new European diplomatic corps.
The European Union is in danger of getting camels for its two new leadership positions -- president of the European Council and foreign policy High Representative -- because of the dysfunctional appointment process created by the Lisbon Treaty.
The secretive horse (or camel)-trading by which EU governments choose the 27-nation bloc's top office-holders seems designed to deter strong candidates and produce lowest-common-denominator outcomes. Some of the most able potential contenders would rather stay at home than take the key jobs to Brussels.
Political leaders gathered in Dublin to debate both sides of the controversial Lisbon Treaty and the implications it could have on the future of Europe.
The panel consisted of Micheál Martin, Ireland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nigel Farage MEP, leader of UKIP, Mary-Lou McDonald, Deputy President of Sinn Fein and David Begg, General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.