Obviously foreign ministers have much more time than their colleagues from finance. That is my observation from the brainstorming that recently swept over Warsaw, further moving to the West.
After a fruitful debate, the representatives of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain came up with a statement to define the future of Europe. Without going into depth on its journalistic value and all the treaty fantasies, I shall refer to one single postulate. It has been suggested at the meeting to shift the responsibilities of the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy (currently Štefan Füle from the Czech Republic) to the European Union High Representative, namely Mrs Ashton, or its successor.
A dream come true for the ministers would mean that literally NO ONE in the EU shall be responsible for the cooperation with countries like Ukraine or Belarus. Mrs. Ashton has repeatedly proven to have serious troubles with this part of the world. At least she knows where Belarus is by now, but I am not sure Mrs. Ashton could tell Tajikistan from Turkmenistan. It is no surprise, as this entire Post Soviet Union Area is just one big trouble for such an important figure. When it comes to Commissioner Füle, quite on the contrary, not only can he distinguish among the countries, but is also capable of CARRYING OUT a visible EU policy in the region. Is this indeed a priority of Poland to throw the baby out with the bathwater?
In the meantime Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski published an article in the New York Times along with his German colleague. There are a lot of interesting slogans there, for example: ‘We refuse to allow the E.U. to be, in the words of a former Belgian minister of foreign affairs, Mark Eyskens, ”a political dwarf and a military worm”.’ The gentlemen keep silent discreetly about the next years’ defence budgets of the Member States and all the more avoid talking about the European spending for this purpose.
To sum it all up, after waking up from the summer lethargy the Foreign Minister is giving weird signals…