There has been the predictable uproar from the British Press at the appointment of the new EU President, but is he such a bad chap as all that? A man who is a devout Christian, who goes on a monastic retreat every month, enjoys Japanese poetry and likes nothing better than a camper van holiday with his wife can’t be all bad. With his modesty and centre right convictions maybe this Belgium was all of the things that his British rival is not. No wonder his friends and colleagues chose him.
Is he such a centralising European Federalist? He strikes me as being much more like Schumann and Monet who wanted to build a friendly and compliant Europe. And before we sneer too much at Sarkozy, Berlusconi and Merkel lets remember who we would have had at a European leaders conference seventy years ago. Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Deladier, Chamberlain. The Poles were trampled underfoot and soon to follow were the Danes, Norwegians, Dutch and Belgium. Maybe Europe could be in a worst state?
Just in case anybody thinks I am getting soft in the end I support a Europe which cooperates in free trade but does not interfere in our foreign affairs, taxation, education, criminal, employment or social policy.
I certainly don’t subscribe to the theory that foreign politicians are any worse than our own.