Q&A Timetable on Blair’s (& Others’) EU Dream – How Soon Will They Know? Soon.
Comment at end
6th November, 2009
The Champion of European Federalism
Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker is a modern-day Jean Monnet. The European federalist sans égal. As such he’s the enemy of all the inter-governmentalists, and is of course very popular in Brussels.
Twice he has held the rotating presidency of the European Council in 1997 and 2005, years in which Tony Blair won two of his three general elections. But Juncker’s political longevity is greater than was Blair’s. By January 2010 Junckner will have been PM of his country for 15 years.
He evidently feels it is time to step up in the world.
Famous for criticising other European countries for defending their national rights, he is presently doing the same. He’s determined to protect Luxembourg’s tax haven status against recent attacks from G20 members, including more powerful EU countries, as referred to here:
I find the treatment of certain states to be incomprehensible.” Juncker had said previously that if Luxembourg were put on any international list of offshore financial centers then “Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming should also be named and shamed as tax havens.”
His tax tance on behalf of tiny Luxembourg may put his name in the anti column, while his integrationalist federalism position may place him in the pro column in the eyes of many EU colleagues.
MEET TWO OTHER CANDIDATES
UNCONSCIOUS OR A WAR LEADER? NOT NECESSARILY DEAD
James Kirkup, Political correspondent at The Telegraph has a quick comparison of the Luxembourg PM, Jean-Claude Juncker Vs Tony Blair for the EU presidency.
I rather enjoyed both these conclusions – 1, even if in a coma you can still win an election; 2, even after launching a so-called “unpopular” war you can still win an election.
Leadership experience: British prime minister 1997 until 2007, governing a G-8 economy with a population of 60 million and an independent nuclear deterrent
Significant European achievements: despite once saying that membership of the euro is Britain’s destiny, failed entirely to move the UK closer to joining. Promised a referendum on the European Constitution but backed out when it was reborn as the Lisbon Treaty.
Wars started: 2 major (Iraq, Afghanistan) and 2 other significant deployments (Sierra Leone, Kosovo)
Best quote: “I am a pretty straight sort of guy.” (BBC, October 1997.)
Most impressive electoral victory: in 2003, sent British troops into ill-fated war in Iraq, but still won the 2005 general election.
Leadership experience: Prime Minister of Luxembourg from 1995 to the present day, governing a Grand Duchy with a population of 500,000 and a standing army of 800.
Significant European achievements: the father of the euro. Wrote large sections of the Maastricht Treaty setting out the blueprint for the single European currency. Now chairs the “Eurogroup” of ministers overseeing the euro.
Wars started: 0 (unless you count verbal conflicts with British ministers over plans for a federal Europe)
Best quote: “I am not a dwarf.” (Le Monde, October 2009)
Most impressive electoral victory: in 1989, spent two weeks of his election campaign in a coma after a car crash, but still won his seat in parliament.
6 Nov, 2009, 22:00: Rompuy – (favourite) 4/6; Tony Blair 5/1; Balkenende 6/1; Juncker 6/1
Now and again … all the time, to be more accurate, it’s clear that commenters at some blogs & papers find it hard to get their little heads round the facts of the arguments. Other factors keep getting in the way. Commenters at Liberal Conspiracy exemplify this.
Well done Mr Elledge for trying. You’re right, they’re wrong.