Leaders of the 27 countries of the European Union on Thursday night chose Herman Van Rompuy, the Belgian prime minister, as the European Union’s first president, and Catherine Ashton of Britain, currently the bloc’s trade commissioner, as its high representative for foreign policy. The vote was unanimous.The eurosceptic British newspaper The Telegraph noted the following press reactions:
Both officials are highly respected but little known outside their own countries. After the European Union’s eight-year battle to rewrite its internal rules and to pass the Lisbon Treaty that created these two new jobs, the selection of such low-profile figures seemed to highlight Europe’s problems instead of its readiness to take a more united and forceful place in world affairs.
Spain's El Pais said the EU will be "led by two dull and low-profile figures."Neither the American nor the British press have much grasp of what these posts entail or how the EU works in general. To be fair, it can be complicated. But the British media have vastly exaggerated the importance of the President of the European Council, and to a lesser extent, also of the High Representative. The way these posts are written down in the Treaties mean they are little more than a chairman and a souped-up envoy for the Member States. So what we have is European Union in choosing competent, low-key people for senior posts shocker.
Germany's Frankfurter Rundschau claimed the 27-nation bloc will be represented by "leaders with no sparkle, without a vision and even without experience in the required fields".
France's Liberation newspaper noted that EU leaders had rejected candidates from the bloc's newest members in eastern Europe but had at least chosen a woman to fill one of the posts.
Obviously, this means that Europe is doomed.
(hat-tip to Joerg for forwarding these articles)