Sunday, March 01, 2009

Even the luvvies don't understand it

Tony Barber, the Financial Times's man in Brussels is happily reporting on the EU "summit" today.

He thus tells us that "EU leaders are not expected to take concrete decisions at the summit, because it is an informal meeting." Thus are we informed by the wise one that, "The next official summit on March 19-20 is, however, likely to take binding decisions on the latest steps to overcome the financial crisis and recession."

Er … no, Tony. The "summit" is of course the European Council and, if you look it up, like on Wikipedia you will find that it has "no formal executive or legislative powers".

Granted, it is an institution that deals with major issues and any decisions made are "a major impetus in defining the general political guidelines of the European Union", but they are not and cannot be "binding".

In practice, the Council makes recommendations to the EU commission, asking it to submit formal legislative proposals. These then go through the normal procedures. Only then do they become "binding".

It is a pretty sorry situation when even the correspondent for the mighty FT doesn't know what he is talking about – even if we are hardly surprised. The hacks have never been able to get their head round the European Council and their lack of knowledge is merely indicative of their general lack of understanding of the way the EU works.

And if even the luvvies don't understand it, it is not surprising that so few others have even the first idea of what it is all about.