Wednesday, February 3, 2010

EU Troubles

Le Monde's editorial today ostensibly laments Obama's snub of the upcoming EU summit, but its real lament is directed at the confusion that continues to reign within the EU. The Lisbon Treaty was supposed to have made things better but, for the time being, seems to have compounded the confusion by creating an executive without real power and then filling it with a non-entity:

La concurrence entre la présidence tournante de l'Union européenne (M. Zapatero) et la présidence stable du Conseil européen exercée par le Belge Hermann Van Rompuy est déjà patente. La Commission présidée par José Manuel Barroso n'en finit pas d'être investie par le Parlement européen. La haute représentante pour les affaires extérieures peine à trouver ses marques.

The inability to coordinate economic policy is another concern:

Quant à la grave crise budgétaire de la Grèce, elle témoigne à nouveau de l'absence cruelle d'un minimum de coordination des politiques des pays membres de la zone euro, sans même parler de "gouvernement économique"
 And Sarko in all this? He has been strangely silent on European issues of late. He was instrumental in obtaining ratification of the Lisbon Treaty but seems strangely uninterested in making the new structure work.


FRANCIS said...

Have you seen this ? Not found in French newspapers.

Zapatero [...] may have a chance to speak with him [Obama] at Thursday's annual National Prayer Breakfast, where the Spanish prime minister was to give a Bible reading.
The first thing that comes to mind: if the United States has a clear separation between church and state, why must there be a National Prayer Day? After reading the article, this isn't just any "kumbaya," feel-good, brotherhood of man prayer breakfast: it is sponsored by the secretive right-wing Christian fundamentalist group known as The Family, infamous for their influence over many of our representatives in Washington. The breakfast is a private events that is out of bounds for the press.

Anonymous said...

bof. doesn't seem that bad this prayer thing.

As an aside, here's a funny story I heard over the holidays. An old friend of mine moved down South, found a hi-tech company, and became a member of the local chamber of commerce. Mostly Republican, mostly Evangelical chamber of commerce. Even the mainline Episcopalians down there speak in tongues.
Anyway, there was a special event at the Chamber of Commerce, the departure of some old gentleman who was retiring. My friend Chazz was by this time quite liked by the CofC grandees & VIPs and, being a boisterous type-A personality from Long Island, he's great at hosting events & public-speaking. So, anyway, there he was, hosting the dinner party for the old gentleman when there came a time for Chazz to lead a prayer. Now Chazz don't know squat about religion and didn't even know if he (or his parents or grandparents) is Catholic or Protestant (he went to Catholic elementary school with me )
Suffice to say, he probably never cracked open a Bible and he forgot whatever religion the dear old nuns tried to instill in him.
But there he was, in front an assembly of God-fearing shopkeepers, business-owners & entrepreneurs (and, ahem, some potential business angels for his hi-tech firm) all of them from this mid-sized city in a Red state, and he, the Northerner, had to read from the Bible!
So, he takes the nearest one at hand (they're everywhere around), opens it up at random - all the while acting as if he "knew" exactly what he was looking for - and he finally falls upon a part with a neat name: Leviticus. Sounds holy. Bro don't know what he's about to read!
He starts off reading: "The various winged insects that walk on all fours are loathsome for you"...Chazz continues abit in the same paragraph. Uh-oh, weird. Talks about not eating animals with paws, dead critters and not touching anything dead, what the fuck?...
So he skips ahead...
and bellows out loud: "On the eighth day, the flesh of the boy's foreskin shall be circumcised"...
"oh shit! he thought, "what the hell am i reading?"
- there was some grumbling and hoof-hawing in the crowd, lots of coughs - Chazz was bombing big time...
He speed reads to himself the next page...leprosy? Christ, I can't read that out loud." He begins to sweat but finally falls upon something familiar: Moses and Aaron (he's seen the Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston)
and Chazz continues, apparently satisfied with what he found, and reads out loud:
"The Lord said to Moses and Aaron:
Speak to the Israelites and tell them: every man who is afflicted with a chronic flow from his private parts is thereby unclean. Such is his uncleanness from this flow that it makes no difference whether the flow drains off or is blocked up; his uncleanness remains."
Absolute silence in the Holiday Inn ballroom that seats 200 (capacity crowd).
Chazz is so mortified by what he just read that he feels woozy and is half-fainting with embarrassment, half-feeling sick to his stomach. He thinks that he just spoke his way to non-existence at the CofC, and was beginning to think about selling his business and fleeing that Southern city.
The old gentleman for whom the dinner event was organized, gets up and goes to the podium where Chazz was standing. He takes Chazz' hand, shakes it, takes the Bible and, waving it with his right hand, talks into the microphone and says:
"Hallelujah! God Bless you, Charles. This is for all you ole fools who think that just because you have bladder problems you can piss all over the place in the gentlemen's bathroom!"

Applause ensued, many "amens!" and much merry-making took place afterward.

Chris P.

James Conran said...

We had two referendums on Lisbon in Ireland and I have to confess I had no idea the rotating presidency was going to have this absurd afterlife. I had considered one of Lisbon's chief merits the replacement of the rotating presidency by a permanent position....