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The "no-one from the big countries" argument has to be addressed separately for the two posts, because of their different impact on the composition of the Commission.

President: Sarkozy, Merkel and Brown were evidently unwilling to put themselves forward. Berlusconi? Let's not even go there. So we turn to past leaders... Chirac, Schröder? Blair appears to have been the only one ready to put his name in the frame and to have the support of his country's current leader. That second condition is pretty crucial, since I cannot imagine circumstances in which a big country candidate could ever be considered viable without the support of the current member of the European Council. So by a process of elimination, Blair was the only big country candidate for President.

For High Rep, there were viable names available from FR and DE, but evidently Merkel and Sarkozy valued an economic portfolio in the Commission (not to mention the next ECB president in Merkel's case) more highly (and we'll find out soon enough if they get them).

The question is why did Brown decide foreign policy was more important than economics? Is there some kind of deal in place that will give him/the UK something else? Or did Barroso and the EPP gang up and tell him the UK was never going to get a senior economic portfolio?

The clear message is that someone from a small country can be forced into an EU job by peer pressure, whereas a big country leader can tell their peers to get stuffed. What's not yet clear is whether the UK is now a small country, in these terms...

by koksapir on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 07:14:34 AM EST
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