Tony Blair will not become the first EU President

As Julien Frisch correctly points out in fact it is not the position of EU President that Blair would be running for in any case – indeed quite a cock-up for Le Monde.

Its not suprising that the UK flag is all the way in the back corner...

It's not suprising that the UK flag is all the way in the back corner...

In any case, Charlemagne over at the Economist has rushed to inform of that Glenys Kinnock, the new Europe Minister of the UK “fucked up” and got a little over-excited with a possible Blair candidacy.
Her mess-up however is unimportant – and here’s why – Europe does not need a President of the EU European Council who comes from a country that is not in the EMU (does not have the Euro as its currency) and is Eurosceptic. Furthermore, the first President of the (European) Council under the Lisbon Treaty will get a significant position in shaping the role. This is not quite what we want Blair to do as Europeans – especially when – as Euractiv writes: The New Parliament seen retreating from Anglo-Saxon model.

It comes down to a simple question – what Europe do we seek? (plagiarised from the New Europe editorial this week)?

It just seems to me that the Union could only regress under British leadership.

Perhaps we’ve got enough of Britain represented in Europe as it is

The Obamagasm shadow

Reading some comments and blog posts, I came across the wonderful word. “Obamagasm

The magic of hope, joy, explosive power, change, challenge, and mystery; all in one word. And although I am not a skeptic, I can’t help but be concerned about what the truth is. Has Obama been groomed to appear to be the best thing that ever happened to this world? Or is he simply a charismatic being who really could be the best thing that ever happened.

Approachable enough, with his blackberry in his hand, a huge smile on his face, and his wife by his side, Obama represents not the ‘American dream’ but the dream of every single person on earth. Happiness, family, wealth, and power. And all that in the context of an evangelist for “Change” – change towards the better.

The Obamagasm felt across the earth, has left us hoping. Hoping for a better tomorrow. But most of all, after a dark era in the international and national scene (of every single country in the world), a financial crisis which is just setting in, and mass business meltdowns; most of all, the Obamagasm has left us praying that he is not a fake.

Child of Europe

ALDE leaves out the boring stuff… MEPs apparently not squandering all their money :)

Update: Brusselsblogger went into the trouble to question ALDE on the matter (original post in quote further below). It seems that in the effort to make the pages of the press, ALDE left out some important details. The very fact that there is interaction between this sphere of blogging and the political spectrum is a very important step, which is often needed to correct misconceptions (admittedly like mine).

As Brusselsblogger commented-

This is the answer from ALDE press officer (so, if one wants to see it from a more positive side it means ALDE has just highlighted the more interesting sports aspects in its press release and left out the boring official visits part)

“The football match you are referring to is part of an official visit to
Gibraltar taking place from 12 to 14 November 2008.

This is the first visit of the ALDE Bureau to Gibraltar whose residents
were only allowed to vote in EP elections in 2004. During the visit the
MEPs will meet government ministers, party leaders and representatives of the civil society.

The football match is just one segment of the visit and was meant to
highlight the fact that Gibraltar is subjected to discrimination because
of Spanish sovereignty claims.”

Original Post:
Translation of press release below:
A group of 14 MEPs will be travelling (probably first class) to Gibraltar and back, with what will probably be an overnight stay at a 5 star hotel, a few gourmet meals, etc etc etc, to play a game of football to show that UEFA should accept Gibraltar as a member. Also they have gone into the added expense of printing high-quality custom football jerseys so they can have a memento of this fine expirience.

Not that I think their cause is wrong; I just think that they should have more important things to do. If you want to get Gibraltar into UEFA, send a collectively signed letter…

Cost of getting a collectively signed letter sent to UEFA: 25 euro by courrier

Cost of playing football in Gibraltar with no expense spared: Approximately 50,000 euro

Knowing that you can do whatever the hell you want with taxpayers money: PRICELESS!

Calling Notice: Liberal and Democrats to play Gibraltar Football Association in football match

Match to raise awareness of Gibraltar’s rebuffed efforts to join UEFA

Liberal and Democrat (ALDE) Members of the European Parliament will be playing football Thursday against a team representing the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) at the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar.

The aim of the match is to drive home the point that the MEPs are more than happy to play against the GFA even though Europe’s governing body of football UEFA continues to ban Gibraltar’s participation in European competition.

It will be recalled that on instructions from the Spanish Government, the Spanish Football Federation has opposed the GFA’s application to join UEFA. Moreover, UEFA rules were changed after the GFA applied to join to ensure that only sovereign independent states could be admitted as members.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has already ruled in two separate cases that the GFA’s application must be considered in the context of what UEFA rules were at the time the application was made, that under the said rules the GFA is entitled to membership of UEFA and that the Executive Committee of UEFA had not acted in accordance with its rules in dealing with the GFA’s application.

Graham Watson MEP, the Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), has made strong representations to UEFA urging them to accept the GFA as members. Mr Watson is a UK Liberal Democrat MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar and is leading the delegation of 14 MEPs from 13 different countries that will be in Gibraltar.

The MEPs have had football kits printed specially for the event.

Obama Election: EU Reactions

With Obama’s Coronation as the new President of the United States of America, Europe was quick to react. A collection of reactions can be found below:

 

European Commission:

COMMISSION PRESIDENT BARROSO CONGRATULATES SENATOR BARACK OBAMA

Commission President José Manuel Barroso this morning made the following statement on the outcome of the US presidential election:

“On behalf of the European Commission and on my own behalf, I would like to congratulate Senator Obama on becoming the 44th President of the United States of America.

This is a time for a renewed commitment between Europe and the United States of America.

I want to assure Senator Obama of the support of the European Commission and of my personal support in forging this renewed commitment to face together the many challenges ahead of us.

We need to change the current crisis into a new opportunity. We need a new deal for a new world. I sincerely hope that with the leadership of President Obama, the United States of America will join forces with Europe to drive this new deal. For the benefit of our societies, for the benefit of the world.”

 

 

Javier SOLANA,

EU High Representative for the CFSP, congratulates Barack Obama on his election as President in the United States of America

“I want to congratulate Barack Obama on his impressive election victory. Elections are about political renewal. The campaign has been exciting and uplifting and the turnout impressive.

The sense of renewal also applies to the transatlantic relations. Europeans and Americans are keen to open a new chapter in their relations.

President-elect Obama ran on a ticket of change. This is most welcome since many things in the world today need changing. Let us do that together.

Europe is willing and able to help. There is a high number of very complex global problems: from the Middle-East to Iran and Afghanistan and Pakistan, from climate change to nonproliferation. We need to address those problems together with determination and creativity. President-elect Obama personifies what is good and impressive about America. He also personifies today’s complex and globalized world where change is a constant. As we grapple with these problems, it is good to have someone who put change, empathy and good judgement at the heart of his campaign. I am looking forward to working with President Obama and his administration.”

European Parliament:

Hans-Gert Pöttering congratulates the new President of the United States

The President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, has conveyed his congratulations to the newly-elected President of the United States, Barack Obama, for his great success in these elections.

In his letter congratulating Barack Obama on his election as President of the United States, Hans-Gert Pöttering wishes Barack Obama “every success in the challenging new role which you take on at this critical time’. He says that the result “has proved once again the extraordinarily capacity for renewal which has so often been evident at difficult moments in American history”. He welcomes the opportunity for a fresh start to EU-US relations, putting them on a stronger and more vibrant footing” and looks forward to the US and EU “working together in effective partnership on many of the global issues facing decision-makers in our both continents, for example climate change”.

Hans-Gert Pöttering congratulated Barack Obama in the name of the European Parliament and expressed at the same time an invitation to the new US President to address the European Parliament on an early visit to Europe, possibly in April before the 2009 Nato Summit. “Such a speech would allow you to showcase your approach to transatlantic relations and set out your vision of foreign policy for the years ahead”.
 
“It would give an excellent message to the people of the European Union if Barack Obama were to make a speech in the European Parliament during his first visit to Europe. This way he could address the almost 500 million citizens of the European Union”.
 
The last time a US President addressed the European Parliament was when Ronald Reagan spoke in Strasbourg in May 1985.
 
ALDE: 

Barak Obama, a president for a new transatlantic partnership

European Council:

Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament give three cheers to Barack Obama on his well-deserved victory. Senator Obama has redrawn the electoral map, reshaped the debate in American politics and revived hope for America’s future.

“As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to heal the divisions within America and between America and others in the international community: as President his challenge is to make good on those fine words.

The Presidential in-tray is bulging with challenges: the financial crisis, Iraq, Afghanistan and so many more. But in Europe President Obama will find a partner and friend, ready to strengthen the links between the US and the EU and work for common solutions to common problems” said ALDE Leader Graham WATSON.

“This breakthrough also throws the spotlight on Europe’s leaders. As we look around the table at the Council of Ministers and the European Commission we see twenty seven white heads of government, and twenty seven white Commissioners. Which will be the first European country to break our glass ceiling and puts its faith in a leader of colour?”

Alexander Graf LAMBSDORFF: (FDP, Germany) added: “Barack Obama has promised change, now he must deliver. We Europeans are hoping for a change as well, a change of tone in transatlantic relations. The challenges are as manyfold as they are complex: the financial crisis, climate change and peace and security in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East. Barack Obama has promised more consultation, in return, he will look for more contribution from Europeans when it comes to addressing these challenges.”

ELDR:

Obama victory heralds new dawn for EU – US relations

Annemie Neyts, President of ELDR Party declared today: “The European Liberal Democrats welcome Barack Obama’s victory in the US presidential election and consider it not just a victory for Obama, but for those with liberal democrat beliefs throughout the world. Greeting Obama’s victory, the ELDR Party welcomes the democratic commitment on the fight to strengthen civil rights enforcement and the desire of the new president to fight for pay equality between men and women and encouraging women-owned businesses. For Europeans, however, it is Obama’s desire to strengthen relations between the US and EU that will be particularly important. “

“As European liberal democrats we have not forgotten the promises Obama made in his speech in Berlin about supporting democratic partners and upholding principles of sovereignty throughout Europe and Eurasia, towards a common idea of democratic progress. We look forward to increased cooperation between the EU and the new US administration. Furthermore, in relation to the conflict between Russia and Georgia, the challenge is to pursue an integrated strategy in the region and to invigorate the Transatlantic Alliance, so that we can work together in a trilateral commitment: US-EU-Russia with a unified voice.”, she stated.


GUE/NGL

Election d’Obama: “Une puissante et magnifique exigence de changements”

 

Déclaration de Francis WURTZ,  Président du groupe de la Gauche unitaire européenne – Gauche verte nordique du Parlement européen

 

Bruxelles, 05/11/08,

 

Une quarantaine d’années à peine après les durs combats pour les droits civiques, je perçois le mouvement populaire qui vient de porter à la présidence des Etats-Unis, un “Africain-Américain” – comme aime à se présenter Barack Obama – comme un grand et beau moment d’histoire. Et pas que pour les Etats-Unis. Il exprime tout à la fois un profond phénomène de rejet de tout ce qu’a représenté la funeste administration Bush – la guerre, la violence sociale, l’intolérance, l’ultra-conservatisme, la volonté de dominer, et finalement le fiasco intégral et l’isolement international – et une puissante et magnifique exigence de changements. Barack Obama a su incarner cette soif de dignité et ces aspirations à une ère nouvelle. Son éclatante victoire lui confère d’immenses responsabilités.

 

Les attentes vont, en effet, très au-delà des engagements pris par le candidat démocrate. Tant sur le plan économique et social qu’en matière de politique internationale. En outre, dans le contexte d’une Amérique affaiblie par la crise qui secoue le monde entier, les pressions de Wall Street sur le nouveau Président seront très fortes dans le sens de la reconquête du “leadership” américain.

 

Cette situation entièrement nouvelle devrait conduire les progressistes européens à relancer une dynamique de coopération avec les progressistes des Etats-Unis pour faire converger leurs efforts en faveur d’objectifs aussi pressants que la démilitarisation des relations internationales; la réforme profonde des règles et des institutions économiques et financières internationales; la mobilisation contre le changement climatique; la lutte contre le racisme et pour les droits humains.

 

Un nouvel espoir est né. C’est une chance que nul n’a le droit de gâche

 

 

 

Palin prank is sad indeed…

Sarah Palin was pranked last night by a Canadian radio station pretending to be French President Sarkozy. The pranker talked about hunting, Joe the plumber, Carla Bruni, Dick Cheney, and even went as far as to make references to the “documentary” called “who’s nailin’ Palin” and Bon Jovi’s “It’s my life”. Palin, remained convinced and happy that Sarko was calling her personally, even flirting with her! 

Obama’s campaign spokesman Robert Gibbs, commenting on the prank, said: “I’m glad we check out our calls before we hand the phone to Barack Obama.”

If true (which it appears to be as it was reported on by AP), the prank call to Sarah Palin may cost the Republicans at least one more percentage point in the upcoming elections. There is much to be said about protocol on the matter, and it is most likely that Bexy (or whatever Palin’s assistant’s name was) lost her job very swiftly.

It seems from the Palin’s replies that the connection was not great, and that she couldn’t make out some of what “Sarkozy” was saying. To play devil’s advocate, In Palin’s position it would be very difficult to confront the caller half way through asking if it was a prank; in any case, it was gracefully handled.

However what is sad is that what has been unveiled by this prank call is that Palin does not have what it takes to be VP of the USA. This is hardly how you would expect a VP to speak to the French President afterall. Granted the pranker did not give much space for Palin to move the dialogue in her own domain, and that she had to respect the seniority of the President of France.

Still, one would expect more etiquette, more respect, and a less casual demeanor. Maybe I expect too much, but her attitude resembles many Bushisms, who has been caught with the mic/camera on one too many times in embarrassing moments. Still these made him more human and added to his appeal.

This prank does nothing else but sadden me. I would simply expect more from a person who is in Palin’s position.

Barroso Bus Campaign – Why not…

Following up from Jon Worth’s Post about the Atheist campaign on UK Busses, I thought this little bit of satyr would be funny…

Virtual Strip Search – Giving security a whole new dimension… Hello Genitalia!!!

Someone thought this would be a joke... Apparently it's closer to reality than ever!

Press Release – A proposal to introduce body scanners at European airports – which show a person’s naked image and genitalia – raises serious concerns about human rights, privacy and personal dignity, Philip Bradbourn MEP, Conservative justice and home affairs spokesman, will say tonight…

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