The Corner

When Oligarchs Squabble

The Daily Telegraph reports on the horse-trading for the job of the EU’s “president” (technically he or she will preside over the EU’s council):

European leaders are heading for a fierce battle on Thursday after Germany and France were accused of plotting to bounce their favoured federalist candidate into the post of EU president. Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy were revealed to have made a pact to railroad Herman Van Rompuy, Belgium’s Prime Minister, into the powerful Brussels job created by the Lisbon Treaty. The attempted “stitch-up” angered Britain, Spain, Italy and Poland along with other central and east European countries…The last Franco-German attempt to impose a candidate for a top EU job failed in 2004 when Guy Verhofstadt, the then Belgium prime minister, was vetoed by Britain for the post of European Commission President. Radek Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, has called for the EU appointments process to “be as transparent and democratic as possible”, using words that were seen as coded criticism of Europe’s two biggest and most powerful countries. A senior diplomatic source described the mood among southern, central and East European EU countries as “angry” amid preparations for a summit that many officials and diplomats fear will be chaotic and unpredictable.

Let’s hope.