Direct elections for a EU president?

A quote from Financial Times which has an article on the big question of the Union - not the Lisbon treaty – but the name of the president of the European Council.

The EU knows that it is far too soon to attempt direct elections for a president of the Union. The 27 members lack the common language and political identity that would make such an election work. When I once discussed the idea of a directly elected European president with a senior official in Brussels, who hails from Finland, he shook his head sorrowfully and said: “I just can’t imagine Sarkozy campaigning in Lapland.” But that is just one of many amusing possibilities: how about Berlusconi in Berkshire; or Merkel in Warsaw?”

I agree with the ‘senior official’, Sarko in Lapland seeems wrong.

So what’s the president going to do?

“There is a minimalist interpretation, which would see the president of the European Council playing a relatively modest role: co-ordinating between national governments, chairing European summits and generally providing more policy continuity than the current presidency, which rotates every six months. And then there is the maximalist interpretation, which wants the new EU president to be a high-profile figure, strutting the world stage. 

 So while Sarkozy in Lapland or Berlusconi {anywhere outside Italy} rules out direct election, I reckon the they both would love to be “strutting the world stage”. But then who?

“[...] any high-profile European president would be a divisive figure. For [...] the president of the EU would not speak for a unified polity. In fact, European unity tends to crumble at moments of international crisis. The EU split badly when Yugoslavia broke up in the 1990s; and the major EU powers were at each other’s throats over Iraq in 2003.

It’s hard to disagree. But still, a direct election and now???

But it is too soon to appoint a high-profile “president of Europe”. If the new president claimed to speak for the nearly 500m citizens of the Union – without a direct mandate – he would invite a backlash in Europe and humiliation in the rest of the world. The EU deserves better than that.” 

Frygtens anatomi

“Frygtens anatomi” er den danske titel på endnu en af de bøger jeg gerne ville læse, men hvor tiden (den altid knappe faktor) allerhøjest tillader at man læser anmeldelsen. Så er det jo heldigt at der findes grundige anmeldelser.

Det er den næsten klassiske diskussion. Er vi overvejende en flok rationelt tænkende individder eller lader vi for ofte frygten og irrationaliteten løbe af med os. Af anmeldelsen at dømme, lyder det som om bogen handler om den vægtmæssige forskydning vi mennesker foretager når sandsynlighede for en hændelse er meget lille, f.eks. Lotto-spillere der uge efter uge indløser deres kupon selvom det forventede afkast er negativt eller de skræmte mennesker der stemmer på politiske partier, der slår sig op frygten for Østeuropæere (ja, faktisk europæere i det hel taget), vold, skydevåben, salmonella, influenza, alderdommen, skattetryk, terror, forvoksede køtere og alverdens øvrige uretfærdigheder.

Nå,  men for at gøre en lang & udmattende historie kort, så vil jeg viderebringe en god pointe, der er fremført af Michael Hviid Jacobsen fra AAU:

»De to største frygtmagere i samfundet er politikerne og medierne. De er styret af at tjene penge og enten holde på eller opnå magt. Frygt er det bedste værktøj til at opnå det mål. Så det er måske lidt utopisk at tro på, at vi kan få et mere rationelt samfund, når dem, der primært præger det, ikke har nogen særlig interesse i det.«