EU's new leadership trio may surprise on upside

Paul Taylor and Robin Emmott, Reuters, 02.09.2014

Quote

Link to original article


At first sight, the European Union's new leadership team looks like a missed opportunity.

Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk and Federica Mogherini seem a less than ideal crew to tackle the EU's biggest challenges - dynamising a stagnant economy, standing up to Russia over Ukraine and preventing Britain from drifting away from Europe. [...]

Tusk, 57, who speaks German but basic English and no French - the EU's main working languages - has presided over a historic rapprochement between Poland and Germany. He has long been Merkel's preferred candidate for a top European job.

Tusk has led his nation of 40 million through seven years of economic growth and rising political and diplomatic influence in central Europe and the EU.

Critics say he has shied away from bold economic reforms and slowed Warsaw's path towards joining the euro out of electoral timidity. His last year in office has been marred by political scandals.

Janis Emmanouilidis, chief political analyst at the European Policy Centre in Brussels, dismissed media criticism of Tusk's linguistic shortcomings.

"If Chancellor Merkel, who does not address the public in English, wanted to become president of the European Council, would we have doubted her ability?" he told Reuters. [...]

The most controversial choice was Mogherini, 41, who has only six months' government experience and was criticized by several central European countries as being too soft on Russia over its detribalization of eastern Ukraine.

A veteran former EU official said he feared Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would "eat her for breakfast".

Some EU governments and many strategic analysts would have preferred Polish Foreign Minister Radislaw Sikorski, a strategic thinker and fine orator, to give EU foreign policy a stronger profile. But Berlin and Paris saw him as too provocative towards Russia - and in terms of the box-ticking, he suffered the dual handicap of being neither a socialist nor a woman.

Outspoken Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite opposed Mogherini in July, saying she would not support a person who lacked experience and was "pro-Kremlin". She made it known she had not voted for the Italian on Saturday.

"She is just too new in the business, being foreign minister for only a few months, not having a personal network of foreign policy contacts," Emmanouilidis said. "Member states chose her and not others because they do not want someone who would create problems." [...]

For the entire article see here.


Latest media contributions

European Populists Who Looked to Trump Now Look Away
Quotes, The New York Times, 13.01.2021

EPC Update – State of the Union & challenges for 2021
Online Briefing, YouTube, 08.01.2021

Alemania al mando del Consejo Europeo: logros y fracasos
Quotes, Deutsche Welle (Spanish), 15.12.2020

Taking Stock of the German EU Council Presidency and Identifying Challenges for 2021
Online DGAP-EPC Event, YouTube, 15.12.2020

Jokes About Hungarian ‘Dictator’ Masked Breach at Heart of EU
Quotes, Bloomberg, 10.12.2020

Europas Erfolge, Europas Enttäuschungen: Das erste Jahr der neuen EU-Spitze
Podcast, hr info, 01.12.2020

"Gesamtnote 2- oder 3+"
Quotes, tagesschau, 01.12.2020

Die Zeit kühner Prognosen ist vorüber
Quotes, Die Presse (Austria), 27.11.2020

EPC Annual Conference 2020 – European integration in light of COVID-19: United in adversity or my country first?
Online Conference, YouTube, 13.11.2020

US election: EU pins hopes on Joe Biden victory
Quotes, Deutsche Welle (English), 01.11.2020


Media