Friday, October 23, 2009

Tough luck Sarko

Interesting to note that, according to German daily Sueddeutsche today, France is apparently unhappy with the fact that the new EU Foreign Minister will also be a Vice-President of the European Commission, fearing 'indirect' Commission control over European Security and Defence Policy.

No doubt this is not disconnected from the news that Britain's David Miliband is apparently now in the frame to take this impressive new title, to be created under the Lisbon Treaty (though his chances seem pretty slim).

This is the second time in as many weeks that strong proponents of the Treaty, most of whom weren't remotely interested in letting the public have a proper debate on the content while it was still being negotiated, have raised objections now that it is all but implemented.

Last week it was Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies complaining that the post of EU President to be created under Lisbon is undemocratic (correct). And now France is suddenly raising objections about the dangers of letting the supranational Commission get its hands on security and defence policy, which has always in the past been the sole remit of the 'intergovernmental' side of things in the European Council.

This is one of the more controversial things about the Treaty - as we have been arguing for a long time, the UK has been against giving the Commission a role in foreign policy since 1992 and initially opposed this 'double-hatting' of the EU Foreign Minister with the Commission.

Thing is, it's a bit late for the French government and indeed anyone else who was desperate to push this Treaty through to start complaining now about its implications. The EU Foreign Minister will, like the EU President, be appointed by a qualified majority vote in the European Council, probably before the year is out.

1 comment:

Grahnlaw said...

Perhaps, if you want to find an irony, the fact is that the top jobs date back to the European Convention, chaired by France's Valéry Giscard d'Estaign, and they were hailed by French politicians for giving the member states control over EU affairs, including Commission resources.

By the way, the preparatory work of the Convention was fairly open, in contrast to the intergovernmental conferences. It might be better to choose if you want openness or intergovernmentalism.