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Saturday, 30 August 2014

“The European Union gets the leadership that it deserves… uuhm … wants”.

During one of the worst political crises in years – the Ukrainian-Russian war by proxy – the European Union has selected new leaders for the highest European positions. Whoever thought that – in these extremely trying times – the European Union would choose for the best and strongest leadership possible, would be in for a rude awakening today...  

With the nomination of Jean Claude Juncker as chairman of the European Commission, Donald Tusk as president of the European Council and Federica Mogherini as High Representative for Foreign Affairs, the scramble for the highest positions in Europe has finished.

What is now remaining for the coming weeks, are the nominations for the other European Commissions: very important for all the countries involved, but not a very big deal for the world as a whole.

With one look at the newly elected leaders, we can conclude that the desire of the European Council to nominate European leaders, who are not threatening towards the national leadership, has been fulfilled.

François Hollande, Angela Merkel and David Cameron can rest assured: the European Council as a whole managed to find leaders that are even more unknown, invisible and undistinctive than they are themselves, as a matter of fact:

Donald Tusk, the new Polish president of the European Council does have a Wikipedia page in the Dutch and English language and he seems to be a genuine European Unionist and a bridge-builder for East-West integration (as I read on this very page), but did you HEAR from him?! Was he more familiar to you than Herman van Rompuy, the last President of the European Council?

And did the name of the Italian representative Federica Mogherini ring a bell with you, before you had read that she would become the next High Representative for Foreign Affairs? After Lady Catherine Ashton, who has been so bleak during the last five years that even her husband hardly recognized her, when she was on television during one of those rare occasions?!

And ‘good ole’ Jean Claude Juncker is perhaps the most exuberant of the new European leaders, as most European might have heard his name once or twice and might have a vague impression of what he looks like. And they might even know that he likes alcohol and tobacco, thanks to current chairman of the Euro-group Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

As a matter of fact: I might even like the nomination of Juncker, as he is an experienced apparatchik who knows his way around in the European Union and therefore is able to fulfil this mainly executive and administrative background job.

Perhaps Donald Tusk is also able to fulfil the job of being the ‘mortar’ between the bricks formed by the 28 European countries.

When I’m honest, I really think that Van Rompuy has done the impossible at multiple occasions, during the last five years; only due to the fact that he could put his ego so far aside that he could cope with all resistance against his plans and (even) the humiliations from the European leaders, without being frustrated or angry in public.

And perhaps this Donald Tusk is also such a man with the ego of a flee, the perseverance of a woodworm and the patience of an angel. Someone who could do good deeds in silence and leave the honour for another man or woman.

Still, I can’t help but having this vision of Donald Tusk and Federica Mogherini, combinedly visiting the Kremlin to talk with Putin and Medvedev. How long would they wait in the reception room of the Kremlin? Half an hour?! Over one hour?! And would they accept it that Putin first has to finish his laps of swimming? Or his icehockey match?!

And would they accept being televised on Russian state television with their mouths shut, while President Putin is talking to them like they are naughty children in a classroom at school? Because that is what it takes when an ‘official nobody’ visits Russia.

Still, I have to swallow after learning that yet again the European Union and the European countries will continue their role as laughing stock of the western world. Taken for granted by the Americans, ridiculized by the Russians, pressurized by the Chinese and mainly ignored by Israel and the other countries in the Middle East. But taken seriously by none of the above.

During the most dangerous political crises with Russia and during the most violent disorder within the Middle East since the 1980’s – crises which put the sheer existence of the European Union and Europe on the line, like rarely before – the European Union chose yet again for virtually the weakest and most invisible leaders possible.

The 28 frogs in a wheelbarrow, which we lovingly call ‘The European Union‘, have decided that a strong and decisive European leadership is still too threatening for the national leaders. And that, as a consequence, weak and colourless European leaders are yet to be prefered above strong and visible people with charisma, attitude and the power to unite the continent and create history.

But the European population? The people who inhabit the European Union and who are dependent on the leadership of this very union for their jobs, their income, their life and wellbeing and their future and that of their children?  

These people have been hoaxed by their coward leaders. By François, Angela, David, Mariano, Mark and Matteo. And by the 22 other leaders of the European Union, who think that a weak union will make their countries and their leadership stronger.

As David Ogilvy, the worldfamous advertising man and founder of Ogilvy & Mather once stated: “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants”. 

Europe  has definitely chosen to become ‘a company of dwarfs’. A sad conclusion…

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