Let's talk about Europe

Three men and a Nobel

Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission and Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, receiving the Nobel Prize at Oslo (Norway)

Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission and Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, receiving the Nobel Prize at Oslo (Norway)

On Monday noon, Herman Van Rompuy, Jose Manuel Barroso and Martin Schulz went to Olso (Norway) to receive the Nobel Prize awarded to European Union.

In addition the main faces of the EU institutions, some heads of State and government came at this occasion to attend the ceremony as François Hollande (French President), Angela Merkel (German chancellor) or Elio di Rupo (Belgian Premier). David Cameron (UK Prime minister) or Vaclav Klaus (Czech Republic president) did not come.

A lot of people wondered about the opportunity of such a delegation, three people to receive a Nobel. French blogger and correspondent in Brussels Jean Quatremer, on his blog, even denounced such a choice considering it was not serious and it shows once again the Lisbon Treaty is a failure, regarding the diplomatic representation issue.

The presence of such a delegation gives a clear indication of state of mind and functioning of EU indeed, at the moment it should be concrete and simple. Thus, the creation of the European Council permanent president in December 2009 was to bring to EU this diplomatic representation, a famous face, a symbol of European people and European institutions. It is not the case for the moment and Herman Van Rompuy, despites his probity and his seriousness, should be blamed for not assuming his role and being authoritarian enough vis-à-vis the heads of State and government and also his homologues of the Commission and the Parliament. To be clear, the former Belgian PM only stays in the framework of his mandate and it’s the same thing for José Manuel Barroso and Martin Schulz, to the great displeasure of some people.

Some EU national leaders during the Nobel Prize ceremony

Some EU national leaders during the Nobel Prize ceremony

Staying in their respective prerogatives, Barroso, Schulz and Van Rompuy only stick to the EU Treaties, reflecting the current functioning of the EU and its decision-making process in which, there remains a balance or rather a non-aggression “pact” between the institutions (and their three representatives more precisely), in order each of them to be taken into consideration and respected, medially speaking. Such a solution may be partially explained by the fact none of the three presidents wanted to take all the credit for him when it is about communicating on Europe and not only in the framework of their functions and their policies, letting a free hand to Member States leaders when it is about to really inform on European integration and policies.

56806_10151200727758462_489174353_oThe presence of the three presidents and a part of the EU heads of State and governments is the logic (and voluntary) consequence of a real lack of communication strategy in which there is only one person, one EU representative identified by all the citizens. This objective is not unrealistic but seems too ambitious for the moment due to the complexity of the EU decision-making process and the personal sensitiveness and susceptibilities of our dear rulers. Indeed, it would have been difficult to justify a choice and not another (for instance, why Martin Schulz and the President of Commission or the EU-27 leaders to come and receive the Prize, despites the fact they are all legitimistic), that maybe explains this heteroclite delegation in Oslo. A genuine disorder which symbolises the charm and the visual identity of EU and which never prevent her from going forward paradoxically.

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