Stanley's blog

Day Two of the French Presidency:

President Sarkozy has postponed his trip to Ireland, but unfortunately he has not cancelled it. He will go on 21 July. Will he be there to lecture or to listen? He and Bernard Kouchner have already upset the Irish.

He plans to go to the Czech Republic. Will he be there to lecture or to listen? His hectoring has already upset the Czechs.

He may feel that his tough language has worked on Polish President Lech Kaczynski, who has confirmed that he will sign the ratification if the Irish say ‘Yes’, but there was no urgency as it would be unimaginable for Poland to hold out in the end.

The smooth management of the Union depends on a good working relationship between the Presidency and the Commission. But already, President Barroso has been criticised and Commissioner Mandelson attacked.

The combined statements of Sarkozy, Kouchner, Fillon and Jouyet are contrary to the tone we have come to expect from the EU Presidency.

Sarah Ludford effectively puts down Kouchner in her letter in today’s Financial Times. I agree that the claim that “no one understands the [European Union] institutions…not even me” is on a par with the boast of Commissioner McCreevey and Taoiseach Cowen, during the referendum campaign, that they had not read the Lisbon Treaty. How can a Commissioner, Prime Minister of Foreign Minister be competent if they do not read the treaty?

Sarah rightly demands that all Commissioners, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, Europe Ministers and Schools Ministers pledge to stop dumbing down the EU.

May I respectfully offer some advice to the French President? Travel round Europe in order to listen, and save your conclusions until you have listened.

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