Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The farce of EU representation at the G20 summit

Here is an argument in favour of the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and fast. The President of the European Council is one Marek Topolanek. That is about all he is. On March 24th his coalition government, led by the Civic Democratic Party he Chairs, fell. Nominally, he is still Prime Minister. What it means in effect, however, is that the European Council is now farcically represented by a lame duck leader with neither domestic or international authority. He can also act without real responsibility.

Of course, the international farce is nothing compared with the domestic farce of Czech politics. Topolanek's government fell in part because one of his MPs black-mailed himself by staging pictures of himself with an attractive blonde and then having it sold to colleagues. Why? Because he wanted to show how corrupt Czech politics was. He was ostracised by his party and voted against the government in a sulk. Does President Obama know what he's letting himself in for in his visit to the Czech Republic later on in the week?

It sounds like I'm about to go into an anti-european rant. Quite the opposite in fact. This ridiculous situation underlines exactly why the EU must reform. And guess what? There is a reform document ready and waiting. It is called Lisbon Treaty. It contains a provision for a President of the European Council to be elected for two and a half years which gives continuity, credibility, and insulation from the vicissitudes of domestic politics.

That is far more satisfactory than the situation that Marek Topolanek and the EU find themselves in over the next couple of days. Time and time again the counter-intuitive pro-european position offers a way out of absurdity. That the Czech Republic is one of the member states where ratification is uncertain underlines the absurdity with irony.

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