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The other race for the Presidency

Assuming we are not saved from Brown's pusillanimity by a referendum elsewhere, the EU constitution, cough, 'reform treaty' is pretty well upon us.

That Mr Tony fancies himself as EU Prez is well known, but a bit of rooting around has turned up some other candidates for that post, as well as those who fancy being foreign policy commissar the High Representative for Foreign Affairs. Blair has about as good a chance of getting the job as I have of being invited to the next Bilderberg meeting, and he is doubtless well aware of this too, but is using the speculation to leverage his earning capacity, I imagine. Sensible chap.

The Presidency first.

Jean-Claude Juncker, current Luxembourg PM. He has to be the favourite, as the Germans and the French will feel suitably unthreatened. Even his name smacks of euro compromise. He is about as interesting as his job suggests, and is a Christian Democrat.

Jose-Maria Aznar. Former Spanish PM. An Atlanticist, sound right winger and all round good huevo. If there is going to be a EuroPrez, he is the best realistic option.

Alexander Kwasniewski. Former Polish PM and social democrat, who would appear to have a bit of a thing for the demon drink. Mind you, he is an honorary Knight of the Bath, although that honour for visiting dignitaries seems to be about as common as being asked to sign the visitors' book at Buck House.

Bertie Ahern. Our next door neighbour to the west, but in the best euro tradition would appear to have not always been simon pure, if not in the league as that scoundrel Haughey.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen - Danish PM. An Atlanticist and sound on Islamofascism. Far from the worst option.

High Representative

Gawd, there are some dull dogs pursuing this one, and am grateful to Le Figaro for coming up with a list, as the British press does not seem to have mustered any interest in the topic. My mates at The Local have considered the issue too.

Michel Barnier - French agriculture minister (he's really going to be a radical free marketer, is he not?). Career politician who does not appear to have done anything interesting, ever. Has to be the odds on favourite.

Carl Bildt - Former Swedish PM, and the compromise candidate to end all compromise candidates.

Javier Solano - Spanish socialist, current incumbent and all round Vicar of Bray - he campaigned against NATO membership but then went on to lead it.

Emma Bonino - Far too interesting to get this job. She is of the Italian Radicali: "The Italian Radicals...are typically viewed as leftist by right-wing people, and rightist by left-wing people. Among other things, they are the only Italian party with a clear anti-clerical agenda...They are vocal supporters of human and civil rights, including abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia, artificial insemination, stem-cell research and legalization of soft drugs. This put at odds the party with the mainstream centre-right parties, while their strong support of libertarian policies, free market, liberalizations, privatizations, low taxes and privately-funded health care put it at odds with the centre-left". See what I mean?

Wolfgang Schussel - Former Austrian PM, Christian Democrat and outwardly harmless, but he plays the accordion.

Mikuláš Dzurinda - Former Slovak PM and a Christian Democrat. He has a rather natty 'tache, and if paired with Aznar, our American friends might think that the EU was run by the Village People. However, "The government of Mikuláš Dzurinda has been praised by the World Bank as the best market reformer in the world. Flat tax rate 19 per cent for income, corporates and value added tax led Steve Forbes to call Slovakia an "investors' paradise." Source. Come here Micky, we could do with your help.

Günter Verheugen - German Socialist, and Commissar for Industry. No thanks.


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Blogger Franck Guillory said... 1:55 pm

Just few words on Michel Barnier - Came to fame for organising, with Olympic champion Jean-Claude Killy, fantastic Olympic Games in Albertville in 1992. Was once tipped as President Mitterrand's first choice for PM at the time of the Second 'cohabitation' in 1993 (Chirac feared he could become a dangerous challenger and insisted on Balladur getting the job... a true example of clearvoyance). Since then, Barnier has been very disappointing, as an EU commissioner and as a Minister, a very quiet and not harmless man.

I agree Bonnino is a fascinating character - too much out of control, though.

I would bet that one of the two posts will go to one of the 'new' countries. I would think that picking a man and a woman could not be that bad - French hang-up on 'parité' between genres.

Just a thought... What if Barroso was to be replaced as president of the Commission and become President of the European Council? It would be a sign of a new hierarchy inside the Union - and a strong signal to the Commission and its eurocrats.  

Blogger hatfield girl said... 3:37 pm

Aznar? although in the euro zone unpopular and as unlikely as Blair; all too atlanticist.

Kwasniewski? Easterner and already denied the fruits of sending troops to Iraq - all he got was a Washington lecture tour. Anyway, it won't be an Ossie.

Ahern? Who wants him?

That leaves Juncker - favourite as you say; unless Merkel wants it, hers for the taking.

Bildt is, as you note,'compromise candidate to end all compromise candidates', and not just for the High Representative; not eurozone though.

Prodi has reorganised the Italian centre-left under a new leader, is stepping down as prime minister at the next elections in all circumstances (which might be coming sooner than he expected), and Italy is the founder member par excellence. Pipped Blair at the post once already, too.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 5:02 pm

Franck, HG - Thanks for your thoughts.

I am an Olympics-hater, so Albertville counts as a black mark for Barnier, although I suppose winter Olympics are not quite the money sink that summer Olympics are.

It should be interesting to see how much of the horse trading over deals is visible. Prodi has to be another serious candidate, but I cannot imagine Merkel would prefer being a eurobod to Bundeskanzlerin.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 10:49 pm

Kwasniewski was President; they are far rarer than PMs.  

Anonymous ... a passing libertarian... said... 1:03 am

... re Wolfgang Schussel and his accordion- playing, reminds me of the old gag that a definition of a gentleman is someone who knows how to play the accordion...

... but doesn't...  

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