There are moments of pure schadenfreude, the wonderful German word with no English equivalent. The Eurocrats rammed through the Lisbon Treaty to turn Europe into a Weltmacht (another great German word!). But it hasn’t worked. Instead, the Euroweanies have demonstrated yet again that process is more important than substance. They truly know how to go for the capillary!
Three months after the European Union introduced a new rule book that was supposed to elevate its status on the global stage, an awkward question is unavoidably being asked within the bloc: Has the Lisbon Treaty actually made things worse?
The agreement finally became law in December at the end of an eight-year battle to reform Europe’s ramshackle structures and to invest the world’s largest trading bloc with equivalent diplomatic weight for its 27 member nations.
But during the treaty’s brief life thus far, confusion about the bloc’s leadership has deepened, President Barack Obama has decided not to attend a European summit meeting, a series of turf wars has broken out, and there has been criticism of the low profile of the Union’s first full-time president, Herman Van Rompuy, and its new foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.
On Monday, the infighting worsened with news of a written complaint to Ms. Ashton from the Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, about the way that the bloc’s new ambassador to Washington, João Vale de Almeida, was appointed.
So much for European delusions of grandeur. It’s going to be a while before Brussels goes toe to toe with the Americans, Russians, Chinese, Indians, and others!