by Jerome a Paris
Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 06:56:33 AM EST
I flagged this article in the Breakfast Thread, but I feel it is worth a thread of its own:
Barroso to promote reformers in reshuffle
José Manuel Barroso, the liberal European Commission president, will today tighten his grip on his administration, promoting economic reformers and forcing out the most visible reminder of past French supremacy in Brussels.
"Reform", once again, is equalled to liberalisation and to an elimination of French influence. At least things are clear.
In a contentious reshuffle of senior European Union officials Mr Barroso will promote leading reformers to the key portfolios of trade and transport and energy.
The new line-up of directors-general - the top permanent civil servants - will see British or Irish officials holding four of the most influential posts in the EU executive, a trend resisted by Paris and Berlin.
Without any other detail, again, the link British officials = reformers = agaisnt French influence.
At the same time Mr Barroso has engineered the departure of Francois Lamoureux, the mercurial French director-general of transport and energy, who enjoyed hero status among many eurocrats. Mr Lamoureux was a key ally of Jacques Delors, the former French Commission president, whose energetic reign and federalist drive between 1985-95 is the subject of misty-eyed reminiscence in Brussels.
I take it from this as well that reform = breaking up the Brussels machine by taking out the people that actually got things done for Europe in the past (i.e., the French).
Some liberal members of Mr Barroso's team regard Mr Lamoureux as emblematic of the "old guard", which resisted the new regime's drive to cut red tape and put the brakes on new integration.
Again, things are explicit: this is a new regime
. That's apretty strong word. It's not new policies, it's a new regime, i.e. it is meant to last more and determine future policies as well.
French officials say privately they are happy with the shake-up because Jean-Luc Demarty, a French national, will become director-general of agriculture, long seen as a top prize in Paris.
But London is delighted with the result, believing that agricultural reform is now driven by world trade talks, overseen by Peter Mandelson, the British trade commissioner.
So the French are stuck with rear guard action, but the Blairists expect to overwhelm them anyway. I suppose that in the current ideological context, both positions sadly make sense. One defensive, one offensive. (yes, the word is carefully chosen)
Charles Grant, who chronicled the Delors Commission in his book Inside the House that Jacques Built, said: "The overall trend over the last 10 years has been for the Commission to become increasingly liberal, and this reshuffle will reinforce that."
So there we are. Has Europe any destiny beyond liberal "reform", meant to make it ineffective against companies (one would not want to impose undue burdens on them, would we) and to destroy the policies it manages. This is an agenda to break up Europe, make no mistake about it, and turn it into a corporate-friendly
zone with no policies.
And let me repeat it here: this is exactly what was predicted to happen by the supporters of the EU Constitution if it was rejected: increasing selfishness by all, a slow drift towards irrelevance or willful powerlessness by the Eurpean institutions, and the domination of the Blairite model.
I know that this is exactly what Arlette Laguiller, of Lutte Ouvrière, wants, as it brings the prospect of the real revolution closer, but is this what the "real" left (as opposed to the softy turncoats like myself) fought for? And if not, what are their plans to fight it? I am curious.
And meanwhile, Europe withers. What a fucking, pathetic shame.