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Well, Solana has been Secretary General for I don't know how many years and there hasn't been a meltdown.

Frank Schnittger:

But the job as defined seems to be all responsibility and no power - you are responsible for moving the EU forward and yet all the key functions are controlled by the commission, foreign policy chief, Parliament etc.
No, the President of the Council is not responsible for moving the EU forward. It is responsible for getting the Council to stop bickering and stop negotiating. The Council and its unanimity rules are the biggest bottleneck in the Union, and the 6 month rotating presidency doesn't help because of the lack of continuity (an attempt at resolving this was the 18-month troika) and because the governments seem to be more concerned with grandstanding and legacy than with getting stuff done.

So, yes, possibly a thankless job if you want lots of media projection, but a good job for a good diplomat (I hear Solana has been described as a consummate diplomat, BTW).

How can the President of the Council represent the EU abroad
Again, he doesn't have to, because he represents only the Council. The HR represents the EU abroad.
I can't see how this is going to work long term - what is the plan for when the inevitable failure occurs - a directly elected President of the Council?
Refer toThe bigger picture:
The Council has, in fact, made a great big mess of the Treaties (and the Eastward expansion) since the ill-fated Nice summit at the end or the previous French Presidency in 2000. It's, in a way, their mess; it's taken them all this time to fix it and it's not clear that they have succeeded.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 04:58:21 PM EST
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