NO decision on the EU President? Could be. Paddy Power has closed the betting!

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    19th November, 2009


    I’ve been watching Paddy Power over the last few weeks. Today, at noon on Wednesday, when I clicked through, it said this:

    “This market is currently unavailable.”

    So there you go – even the betting market is confused. Since any decision won’t be made or known until, at the earliest tonight’s dinner, there would under normal cirumstances still be time right up to then to bet on the outcome.





    Wake up guys. This is no way to run a business, far less a continent.


    Let’s work out what we need and want. Should the President be a Chairman part of whose job will be to distil and present the lowest common denominator views of ALL 27 EU countries to the world, perhaps then signifying little?  Or a Representative who will influence and perhaps at times LEAD AS WELL as represent the views of the EU leaders and countries to the world?

    My advice to the EU?


    Martin Winter, EU correspondent for German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, here at this BBC radio interview, also suggests that the decision may be postponed.



    1. German ambassador’s “diplomatic gaffe” hints at Blair loss:

    “But Germany’s ambassador to Brussels, Reinhard Bettzuege, has reportedly infuriated Berlin, telling a Belgian newspaper, De Morgen, that his Chancellor, Angela Merkel, had thrown her support behind Herman Van Rompuy.

    ”Germany thinks the Belgian Prime Minister is a good candidate for the EU presidency. Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Government are behind Van Rompuy for this job,” he told the paper.

    The gaffe, which makes a mockery of the secret negotiations conducted with meticulous precision by the Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, was reported by various news sites in Belgium. It also sparked a flurry of denials from the German Government and The Times in London reported that a German diplomat rang the paper to insist that Mr Bettzuege had been misquoted.”

    2. The Scotsman says:

    “But officials were predicting that the dinner could last until breakfast tomorrow amid warnings that the leaders are deadlocked over who should take on the job.

    There were claims that Mr Blair, whose bid for the president’s role was thought to have been torpedoed, could come through the middle tonight if no other candidate presents him or herself during the evening.”

    3. Britain’s Europe Minister says “Obsessed Hague can’t see straight”:

    THE Conservatives are so “obsessed” with stopping Tony Blair from becoming EU President, they are acting against Britain’s interests, Europe Minister Chris Bryant said yesterday.

    The Rhondda MP said the Tories had in effect backed Mr Blair’s rival, Belgian Herman Van Rompuy – who favours the European integration approach the Conservatives oppose and has suggested that the European Parliament should be given tax-levying powers.

    Mr Bryant is in Brussels ahead of tonight’s key meeting of European leaders, which is expected to decide who gets the newly-created top job.

    In the latest cross-party row over Europe, he said he was bewildered that the Conservatives had not endorsed a British candidate for the post.

    The Tories have warned that choosing Mr Blair – who has not formally declared himself in the race – would amount to a “hostile act” against an incoming Conservative government over Europe.

    Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague has led the anti-Blair charge, to the bemusement of the rest of Europe, where backing one national candidate for EU posts is the norm.

    Mr Bryant said: “I am bewildered that Hague would want to support Van Rompuy, who has a rather more federalist agenda than other prime ministers in Europe.

    “Hague can’t see straight in the British interest, so obsessed is he [with stopping Tony Blair].”

    4. BBC’s Gavin Hewitt says “Blair camp not hopeful.” He reported on BBC’s Radio 4 News at One that Blair’s chances have gone slimmer today. The Blair camp is reportedly pretty downbeat, because the mood for most of the 27 is for a chairman not someone who will define the EU on the world stage. It seems there is a new draft paper circulating from the Swedes, who are running the whole shebang. They have outlined the job as a co-ordinator/chairman rather than a BIG figure on the world stage. If that were to be adopted Tony Blair is OUT of it.

    You’re too big for the room, Tony.

    5. I have commented here at ABC News to this effect:  It is clear what needs to be done. Draw up a job description, limit its powers, and THEN decide who fits. If it’s only a Chairman the EU REALLY wants it is beyond saving, and Mr Blair is NOT ‘only a chairman’. Envy, on the other hand, may be ruling, Ms Merkel.  Envy is a vice with no place in a project like European/international politics.

    6. A “dream deferred” – The LA Times:

    ‘Far from strengthening the EU, critics say, the contentious process of choosing a president has merely spotlighted the alliance’s shortcomings and shown once again that, despite self-congratulatory pep rallies in Brussels, it still isn’t ready for prime time.

    “The whole thing has descended into farce,” said Christopher Bickerton, an expert on European politics at Oxford University. “It’s made the European Union seem more of a joke than a reality.

    All this means that the dream of a strong new Europe, with a confident, forceful new leadership able to make the world sit up and take notice on matters of consequence, now looks like a dream deferred.”‘

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