Thursday, June 24, 2004

Only seven days to go

It seems that the leaders of the EU member states will revert to their usual method of choosing the Commission President. They will have dinner on June 29, the last possible day on which to agree. The dinner will be in Brussels, a place known for its good food. Our readers will, no doubt, be relieved that life will continue to be comfortable for those who casually sign away our freedoms.

In the meantime I have been informed that the old Commission can carry on into the autumn, even if there is no sign of a new President and, therefore, of new Commissioners. Old Commissions always do carry on. Many of our readers will recall the astonishing spectacle of Jacques Santer's Commission resigning, only to return about half an hour later as an Acting Commission.

Incidentally, M Dehaene’s name as a possible President has been floated recently. An astonishing idea.

Who is in the running still? Sir Peter Sutherland, who seems to have edged into lead position, Guy Verhofstadt, we assume, though he is rarely mentioned by reporters, José Manuel Barrosso, the Portuguese Prime Minister, who is likely to be blackballed by the Chirac and Schröder for his active participation in the “coalition of the willing” against terrorism, Javier Solana, who is more likely to want the EU Foreign Minister’s job and the former French Foreign Minister, Michel Barnier.

In addition we must not forget Bertie Ahern who says nay but then hums and has and refuses to take his name off the list.

As they say, watch this space.

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