Wednesday, February 06, 2013

EU politics: back to Brussels where "real" men and women are

NYT 005-hol.jpg

While most of the British legacy covers the mighty British Parliament descending to the level of considering whether persons of the same sex can call themselves "married", papers such as theNew York Times are covering other aspects of the British decline.

To be fair – although I don't see why - the loss-making Guardian is also covering the territory, telling us that French President Fran├žois Hollande is doing what French presidents do best – making life impossible for the Rosbifs over the EU budget. 

Actually, one need not get too excited about this. Hollande was in Strasbourg speaking to the European Parliament on his home turf – and it would be too much to allow a little thing like an impending European Council to have a dampening effect on his speeches. "Diplomacy", it appears, is for little people. 

For what it is worth, Hollande is playing his usual tune: the EU "is more than a marketplace" and France would oppose British proposals for deep cuts to the budget, as he doesn't want his farmers rioting in the streets of Paris (I made that last bit up, of course). 

Meanwhile, some Dutch MPs are getting deliciously uppity, with CDA leader Sybrand Buma demanding of Prime Minister Rutte that his government claw back some powers from Brussels. 

To judge from Burma's list, he's just as clueless as Cameron – but perhaps also more realistic. He's purely for the repeal of modification of some directives, which would not need treaty revision. But some of the legislation is implementing international standards, so he's barking up the wrong tree. 

All this, though, is only "noises off", with the main action reserved for Thursday when Van Rompuy reveals his very bestist and absolutely final master plan which is going miraculously to break the logjam and have the "colleagues" leaping to their feet in admiration, breaking into a rendition of "Ode to Joy".

Failing that, Mr Hollande's farm subsidies are toast, which means he probably will be as well, which mean that he had to get is barbs into the Robifs just to cover his back. 

Perhaps if our MPs could tear themselves away from "gay marriage" for a few moments, they might actually notice something of what is going on, but since they can't do anything about it anyway, they might just as well make long speeches about gays bedding each other, and let the grown-ups get on with the real work. 

The big joke, of course, was that the grown-ups weren't at work today anyway. Staff of the EU institutions were on strike yesterday over proposed cuts in pay and conditions. The aim of the strike,we were told, was to send a message to the heads of state and government that "real" men and women work for the EU. 

That, at least, is some relief. Presumably, we can assume that there will be no pressure for gay marriages in the European Quarter of Brussels.