So, Sarko’s idea has been properly watered down. The initial idea of the “wise-men” group was first properly renamed not to sound discriminatory and then also weakened substantially. It will now NOT discuss: institutional issues, existing policies (=enlargement) and financial arrangements. So what is there left for it to do and what is there for Sarkozy to be happy about?
OK, there is a long list of things like: energy and climate questions, European social and economic model, Europe’s role in the world…But isn’t this all “existing policies” and isn’t thus the mandate a bit contradictory? And the groups is only supposed to report back in 2010. I bet these “cosmetic” changes to Sarko’s idea have been done by coincidence…
In any case, the polished mandate and the composition should be fixed on Friday in Brussels by the EU leaders. If not the whole list of names, at least the chair will be named along with the mandate. As the EUObserver tips the favourite in the race is currently Vaira Vike-Freiberga, while the other names floated are: Jorma Ollila, chairman of the board of directors of Nokia, Felipe Gonzales, the former Spanish socialist prime minister and Pat Cox, ex-president of the European Parliament and now president of the European Movement. As EU history tells however, not all the first names survive.
But at least they appear quite balanced: a new member state, 1 women and 3 men (we have to improve on this one…), someone from the North and someone from the South, a Conservative (Vaira), a Liberal (Cox), a Socialist (Gonzales) and a business person. The best of luck in fillig those 10-12 places. I would vote for Umberto Eco. There were rumors of Bronislaw Geremek as well.
I was not friendly to creating an unelected “committee” to deal with Europe’s future, but things start to be interesting, let’s see how the events unroll… Just hope that Sarkozy doesn’t get what he wished for.