The next round of the ongoing battle for supremacy between the EU Commission and the European Council looks about to get underway, as José Manuel Barroso vies for a bigger profile and greater prominence under the guide of a communication ‘revolution’. Now the unelected and unaccountable Herman Van Rompuy has ‘President’ in his title, the unelected and unaccountable Barroso is desperate not to appear as somehow less important.
Once again Europe is host to self interested power politics being played out against a backdrop of unacceptable democratic deficit and political disenfranchisement. It is megalomania writ large. The plan is very simple as a source told EuActiv:
The credibility and the success of the EU project “can work only if the Commission is perceived as the EU’s government”. “We can achieve this by centreing our communication on the figure of the president,” the person close to the matter told EurActiv, adding that the new strategy will be geared towards greater “personalisation”.
“If the German government announces a project, it is Merkel’s project. In France, it would be Sarkozy’s plan. We have to do the same in Brussels,” the source continued.
In the past, this has not always been the case. President Barroso has often been sidelined by his commissioners, at the risk of making the Commission’s message less coherent and less understandable to the average citizen.
“For example, Reding was considered to be the commissioner who introduced roaming. When she held a conference together with Barroso on the roaming regulation, the president appeared in just 2% of the press coverage of the event. This has to change,” Commission sources told EurActiv.
Mr 2% is obviously a tad sensitive about not being the centre of attention, so we are about to be hit by a concerted propaganda effort to remind us who really decides how we are governed. And of course, even though we have absolutely no say in how the EU governs us, this mammoth vanity exercise will be funded with our money. Lucky us. Money well wasted, eh.
We simple arms-length observers will have to watch and wait to see what the European Council’s response to this is. Being an unimaginative lot it’s safe to say we’ll be hearing and seeing a lot more of Herman in the near future too.