Thursday, October 04, 2007

The European Council on Foreign Relations is finally launched

Well, it has been long time a-coming, considering the solid financing behind it (hint: George Soros and his various interests) but an item on EUObserver alerted me to the great event of the year: the European Council on Foreign Relations has finally been launched.

It now has a brand new website, which tells us that George Soros, the Council’s “onlie begetter” will launch it at a forum attended by all the great and the good, where he will discuss Europe’s global role. One can’t help feeling that Mr Soros is more interested in his own global role but that may be my infamous cynicism. Madeleine Bassett would never think that.

How can one resist an article by Fran├žois Godemont, a member of the French great and the good fraternity that tells us that we must persuade Burma’s military junta that it makes more sense to have a political process. Sounds like another great common platform for the European Union.

There are fifty founding members from all the member states with impeccable credentials. (I am always rather sorry to see Bronislaw Geremek on lists like this, as I rather admire the man.)

The Statement of Principles starts off with a predictable and completely unlikely appeal to the governments of European Union:
We call on the governments of the European Union to develop a more coherent and vigorous foreign policy, informed by our shared values, dedicated to the pursuit of our common European interests, and sustained by European power.
As a matter of fact, I am rather impressed that in this case the reference is to the European Union and not to Europe. This could not have been written by Mark Leonard, the overall director of this enterprise. When I last debated with him on Radio 4 he showed complete ignorance of how the EU worked and declared said ignorance in ringing tones. He lost the debate, anyway.

Mark Leonard, the wunderkind of the soft-left europhile think-tank world, is the man who wrote not that long ago a book, entitled “Why Europe will run the 21st century?”. It had a great deal about soft power and “Europe’s” unseen influence on countries, if memory serves correctly, such as Russia and Rwanda. One wonders whether he will continue to believe so but, of course, he must go on believing that “Europe’s” power works like an unseen hand in all the member states. It’s just he will not go on saying it quite so openly, I expect.

As a matter of fact, he may be a little disappointed with that plan to run the 21st century. On the new website he says:
Europe needs to come of age. We need to stop complaining about what others are doing to the world, and start thinking for ourselves. We want a can-do foreign policy, where European power is put at the service of European values.
Quite so. Just as soon as we have a European power and can define European values.

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