Stanley's blog

Yesterday’s defeat of the Czech government underlines the need to change the current system of an EU rotating presidency. It is the third time that a presidency country’s government has been defeated – Denmark in 1993 and Italy in 1996.

It is essential for the leadership and efficiency of the Union that the system be reformed, Lisbon Treaty or not.

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  1. Good question but leadership or efficiency for what, where and how? The idea of a rotating presidency or chairmanship of the Council of Ministers was created to avoid the domination of the large, powerful countries of the weaker and smaller. The misconception that the ‘President’ possessed some powers of a such grand European superstate or federation (like the US President) is a deformation of the original Community concept of common supranational policy of all states. It got confused in the de Gaullist era, when M. de Gaulle thought that France must be the natural leader of Europe … and the other countries were just filling in time between French presidencies or chairmanships. The concept of Presidency was for fair management of a meeting of equals that had to produce Avis or Opinions on legislation. The office was not designed to give a French (or German or British etc) impulse to European policy for everyone else to follow obediently. It can be charied by an ambassador or diplomat in extremis. Governments are aways subject to being voted down — that’s democracy.

    De Gaulle did not want the Commission to chair the meetings because they might be fair-minded and give everyone an equal chance to speak! He was not really in favour of placing France and his minister on the same level as Luxembourg! Presidencies have in the last decades become the occasion for national posturing — which is not exactly a Community approach. The intergovernmental powers of Maastricht and Amsterdam treaties come under slightly different criteria than the first pillar powers of our two Communities.

    It would therefore be better that a really impartial, properly installed and democratic Commission President chaired the meetings of the Council, once the European people have confidence that the election of the Commission is not some secret politicians’ deal made behind closed doors for quite unclear motives.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘1055386704 which is not a hashcash value.

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