It’s Thursday. Must It Be Belgium?

by Denis Boyles

Mighty Belgium – a “country” that has not had a cohesive, stable government since before Obama’s election – is  behind the wheel of the European Union, effective now. Here’s an Irish Times report:

Belgium takes over the EU’s rotating presidency today as Europe struggles to gain the initiative in a sovereign debt crisis which has already led to the rescue of Greece and the creation of a €750 billion security net for other distressed euro zone countries.

Whether any government follows Greece is likely to be a defining issue for the Belgians, who assume the six-month presidency from Spain. Of chief concern here is the fate of Spain itself, whose fiscal weakness threatens a drastic escalation of the emergency.

Amid constant bickering between Berlin, Paris and the EU institutions in Brussels over interventions to prop up the euro, the Spanish presidency never became a prime player in the response to the debt debacle.

Belgium’s clout in the campaign may be diminished by the fact that its presidency is being managed by a caretaker government as talks continue on the formation of a new coalition after elections last month.

It will be interesting to see how a small regional bureaucracy that can’t reconcile the differences between Ghent and Liège (about 100 miles apart) will be able to manage the affairs of a bureaucratic union stretching from permafrost to Malta.

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