Shouldn’t the EU brand convey the message that Europe is one of the most powerful players in the world? If so, I simply cannot understand the choice of Herman Van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton for the two top jobs? Bland and unknown leaders like that far from give the image of a leading power. No matter how competent they are they simply fail to convey the right impression. They actually make the EU look irrelevant and I seriously doubt that other world leaders will choose to meet with them instead of key European leaders such as Angela Merkel, and Nicholas Sarkozy.
If so, the idea of the EU to finally speak with one voice globally falls flat since the new EU President and Foreign Affairs Supremo will make no difference whatsoever. They will not, as intended, make the EU as a union more powerful and accessible to world leaders.
The EU needed to elect a president who is a well known and flamboyant leader to attract attention and get its message across. It’s actually hard to see President Herman Van Rompoy becoming headline news for anything short of Europe declaring war on someone.
For years it was talked about Tony Blair becoming president of the EU. And whatever you think of him, you have to admit that he fits the profile of a high powered leader that would make EU policies headline news. Someone like that would be an asset to the brand by forwarding its interests.
But oh no, he didn’t appeal to left wing members in Brussels who consider him too conservative. The EU really managed to live up to its bureaucratic reputation when the wrangling between different blocks resulted in a choice of bland people that will, at best, have a neutral impact on the European Union brand. Simply cannot understand why Europe doesn’t want someone competent with star quality to represent them on a global scale? Someone high powered that leaders in other parts of the world would pay attention to. The kind of horse trading that resulted in the choice of Mr Van Rompuy and Lady Ashton is the EU at its worse. Not only Tony Blair, but all flamboyant candidates were actually rejected.
Imagine that Europe waited six years for the Lisbon Treaty to be ratified and a EU president only to get one that is so grey it makes our part of the world look ridiculous. Shouldn’t the EU compete on the global market place and get the best possible deals for its members? How is that going to be possible for an organisation that doesn’t even understand the need to have a flamboyant president that people are interested in and hence listen to? Is the EU going to be just one big bureaucracy that the rest of the world ignores it and keeps on dealing directly with the leaders of the different member states instead? That would be a pity since all the small EU states will loose out big. Not least the socialist ones that seem to have been a main reason faceless people were elected for the top jobs since nobody feels threatened by them. Seems the EU choose to forget that it’s the flamboyant visionary bosses that change the world. Instead leaders in Brussels opted for the image of keeping its head down. Doesn’t bode good for the future of the European Union.
(Photo: Flickr Foreign and Commonwealth Office/se.2009/eu)