24 thoughts on “Barroso at UCC”

  1. It is not the job of the Commission to be “best friends” with any member country but to promote the “general interest” of the EU (Article 17 TEU). Given that this is Barroso’s second period in office, it is somewhat curious that this aspect of the Commission’s role is so overshadowed.

    Two articles in today’s IT underline the moves at a political level to undermine it even further.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/new-openness-in-contest-for-commission-presidency-1.1713812

    and;

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/uk-s-euroscepticism-has-robbed-it-of-inside-role-in-eu-decision-making-1.1713823

    This extract from the article by Susanne Lynch cuts to the chase;

    “One area in which Britain is finding common ground with its fellow EU members, however, is its views on the election of the next commission president, which is being discussed at the EPP congress this week. British officials strongly question the notion the next head of the European Commission should be linked to the results of the European Parliament elections.

    “The whole procedure is an idiotic idea, “ said a senior British official last week, pointing out the process rules out candidates that are sitting prime ministers . He added that the Lisbon Treaty does not specifically say that the candidates of the party groups in the European Parliament should automatically become president of the commission, as argued by the Socialists and Democrats .”

    “Idiotic” is the word and an occasion where a good dose of euro-scepticism is in order.

    This view has nothing to do with any favouritism in respect of the Commission but with maintaining the basic institutional balance between the various EU institutions. The Commission has the “monopoly of initiative” with regard to most EU proposals and/or legislation (Article 17.2 TEU) i.e. member states cannot act on the basis of any proposal other than that initially submitted by the Commission. This arrangement is the basic source of the Commission’s influence in the decision-making procedures of the EU. Otherwise, it would be just another international secretariat. (It is also the source of its reputation as the defender of the interests of small countries as pursuit of the “general interest” of the EU can hardly leave them out).

    The saving grace is the fact that the Commission must act as a college i.e. collectively, thus allowing commissioners from all member countries to participate in the identification of the “general interest” and, in the process, greatly reducing the powers of its President. Were its proposals to be seen as favouring one political viewpoint over another, the credibility of the entire EU decision-making procedure would be in question.

  2. text from Blind Biddy in Kharkov:

    A little history on Limerick & Crimea: Nowadays the Irishman, Peter Edmund Lacy, born in Limerick, is considered one of Russia’s greatest generals.

    Political turbulence characterized the second half of 17th century in Irish history. The wars that started in the 1640s in Ulster had devastated the country. At the end of the century, after a long series of defeats, twenty thousand Irish soldiers abandoned the Emerald Isle and joined the French army. From France a band of Irish officers dispersed throughout Europe looking to serve elsewhere. Among them was Peter Edmund Lacy, from the county of Limerick, who was fated to become one of the most famous foreign officers of the Russian army where he became famous as the General Field Marshal Pyotr Petrovich Lassi.

    He first came to prominence at the battle of Poltava, when as commander of the Polotsk regiment, he gave valuable advice to Tsar Peter I. He suggested that the Russian troops were opening fire too early on their enemies and should allow the Swedish troops to come much closer before engaging them. This tactic played an important role in the Russian victory.

    In 1737 the Russian-Irish general was instructed to take the Crimea.

    Two previous attempts had been unsuccessful. However Lacy was an astute judge of weather and tides and this allowed him to march his army across previously impenetrably flooded territory to take the Turkish garrison at the fortress of Perekop. [Written by Шеймус МАРТИН ]

    http://www.russianireland.com/index.php/en/news/153-russians-in-ireland/6390-irishman-peter-edmund-lacy

  3. more Irish in the ‘Crimean War’ ….

    ‘The Irish in the Crimea

    This public interest in the regiments departing for the war is perhaps not surprising when one considers the large number of Irishmen who were serving in the British army at this time. Irish soldiers made up around 30–35 per cent of the British army in 1854, and it is estimated that over 30,000 Irish soldiers served in the Crimea.

    There were some prominent men among them. General Sir George De Lacy Evans, from Moig in County Limerick, and General Sir John Lysaght Pennefather, from County Tipperary, both distinguished themselves at the battles of the Alma and Inkerman. Irish-born soldiers and seamen won 28 Victoria Crosses. Master’s mate Charles Davis Lucas, from Poyntzpass in County Armagh, was awarded the first-ever Victoria Cross for throwing overboard a live shell that landed on the deck of HMS Hecla during a bombardment of the Bomarsund fortress in the Baltic in June 1854.

    Alongside this Irish involvement in the military, there was a large Irish civilian contingent in the Crimea. In the years following the Napoleonic wars the British government had run down the army medical and supply services. On the outbreak of the war a call was made for volunteers for both the supply service (the Commissariat) and the medical services. Several Irish doctors volunteered to work in the hospitals at Scutari and Balaclava, where Irish nurses and nursing sisters also worked. There was a total lack of Roman Catholic chaplains, and several priests—including two Dublin-based Jesuits, Father William Ronan and Father Patrick Duffy—volunteered to serve in the Crimea

    http://www.historyireland.com/18th-19th-century-history/ireland-and-the-crimean-war-1854-6/

  4. @ DOCM

    “It is not the job of the Commission to be “best friends” with any member country but to promote the “general interest” of the EU”

    And secular stagnation- how does that tie in with the “general interest” ?
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/73b623d8-73e0-11e3-a0c0-00144feabdc0.html

    “The euro crisis is not over, but one important shift has taken place. The policy debate has concluded. The decision not to set up a common backstop for the eurozone’s banks has closed the last window for any form of debt mutualisation as a tool of crisis resolution. All of the adjustment will take place through austerity and price deflation in the periphery. Most of the adjustment still lies ahead. Furthermore, it has been decided that debt burdens will be reduced by paying them off – not by inflation, default or debt forgiveness.
    If you look at this with a knowledge of economic history, this is an awe-inspiring set of choices, to put it mildly”

  5. Barroso speech sounds like an excerpt from the new Ryanair customer service department: ‘We’re here to help you’.
    Yet, Barroso was part of a nexus of EZ institutions that stuck it to Ireland with 6%+ interest rates, that included margins of ~3% at the time of issue. Economic waterboarding. That’s partnership for you.
    [Come to think of it, 3% is an excellent margin. Pity AIB can’t get to that margin.]

    The wind direction has shifted, marginally, and Barroso is changing his direction, marginally.

  6. @JR

    Barroso is Portuguese. He doesn’t a F##### F$$$ about his own people. He is bought.

  7. @ seafóid

    That is one view but factually incorrect unless what I am reading about the negotiations on the Single Resolution Mechanism is also incorrect.

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20140305IPR37601/html/MEPs-lay-out-final-offer-on-bank-single-resolution-mechanism

    The relevance of the topic in the context of this thread is that the tug-of-war going on between the Council and the European Parliament is an example of the institutional balance which assorted – often well-meaning – politicians across Europe seem continuously intent on destroying.

    The Commission makes the proposal but it is up to the Council i.e. the ministers of finance in this instance and the EP to agree it.

    The Lisbon Treaty does not provide for the direct election of the President of the Commission via the elections to the European Parliament.

    It is also interesting to note that the treaty did provide for a reduction in the number of Commissioners from 1 November 2014 (Article 17.5) but this provision became a dead letter as part of the agreement made with Ireland to ensure that the second Lisbon referendum passed. As I have attempted to explain above, it is not so much a question of “boots on the ground” but “feet under the table” in the context of the role of the Commission. The plain people of Ireland had more sense in this regard than Europe’s politicians.

  8. @DOCM on the European Commission

    It is also the source of its reputation as the defender of the interests of small countries as pursuit of the “general interest” of the EU can hardly leave them out

    I think the only appropriate response here is “Jesus H Christ, satire is dead, why keep hitting it?”. Not since Kissinger won the Nobel Peace prize has there been such an assault on meaning.

    Can anyone seriously believethat the European Commission has done anything to protect the interests of the peripheral countries vis a vis the interests of the creditor countries since the start of global financial crisis? Too many drugs, not enough drugs or bribery can be the only explanation for holding this position.

    The peripheral countries instead now know that the “general interests” of the EU no longer include theirs. I genuinely regard Euro enthusiasts in these countries as traitors to democracy and their own countries and I can not be alone.

    @seafóid

    From the FT. “The euro crisis is not over, but one important shift has taken place. The policy debate has concluded….If you look at this with a knowledge of economic history, this is an awe-inspiring set of choices, to put it mildly”

    It is quite something isn’t it? The failed elite consensus of the early twentieth century is the elite consensus of today. No recognition of historical precedent, no plausible underlying theory, just belief in the necessity of punishment and the purgative power of suffering.

    The “core” countries (lets be honest here, Germany and hangers on) and the ECB have simply decided to make an example of the periphery “pour encourager les autres” and national popular democracy has been so undermined by EMU that they are getting away with it.

    Do you think many backers of the fiscal compact in the peripheral countries have buyers remorse now? Abject submission was supposed to save them from being punished further (and access to the fabled ESM) but it only encouraged further beatings.

  9. @DOCM

    The plain people of Ireland had more sense in this regard than Europe’s politicians.

    I seem to remember that the “plain people of Ireland” repeatedly voted no to the EU treaty changes that helped lead us to this disaster. I imagine you were somewhat less approving of their common sense then.

    The doublethink that supporters of the EU have to engage in is quite something.

  10. @seafóid

    Barroso is Portuguese. He doesn’t a F##### F$$$ about his own people. He is bought.

    The sadly departed PR Guy suggested that he was two degrees of separation from Barroso and that he was a dangerous thug whose ambition and principle free character made him an ideal match for the European Commission. I would have liked more detail but he sounds like a keen enforcer. Probably has his eye on the NATO sec gen as his next role in enforcement.

  11. One more delicious detail on Barroso from his wikipedia entry

    In March 2003, Barroso hosted U.S President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar in the Portuguese island of Terceira, in the Azores. The four leaders finalised the controversial US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. Under Barroso’s leadership, Portugal became part of the “coalition of the willing” for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, sending non-combat troops.

    We can add unpunished war criminal to his CV, probably one of the reasons he got the post.

  12. @ DOCM

    when do you think Mario will be in a position to raise interest rates at the ECB ?
    If the boxwallahs at EU level are doing such a good job why is the Euro economy so poorly ?

  13. @ seafóid

    Where did I say that they were doing a good job?

    The point that I am making is that the institutional balance of the EU is largely that which the founders of the European Communities succeeded in putting together and which is the secret of both its successor organisation’s longevity and progress (and which causes the EU to act as a magnet for the European countries still outside the European Union). The equivalent balance in the US has broken down – at least temporarily – and the present generation of European politicians seem set on achieving the same result here.

    They are currently misrepresenting what the Lisbon Treaty states in the matter of the appointment of a new Commission President. Europe does not need a politician identified with either the left or the right in such a role but a candidate that meets with the general political approval of the leaders of the member countries and general public acceptance of his/her qualities and suitability for the role. What we will get is in all likelihood Juncker. Indeed, it will be an interesting exercise to see how the operative words “taking into account the elections to the European Parliament” (Article 17.7 TEU) are interpreted when it comes to getting the Parliament’s approval if eurosceptic parties of both the far left and the far right make significant gains in the elections.

    P.S. One wonders how the inhabitants of the Crimea will feel when the wake up post-referendum as citizens of an internationally ostracised country? The EU’s role as a magnet for people seeking a better life in genuine democracies governed by the rule of law will not have become any less.

  14. @ DOCM

    “Where did I say that they were doing a good job?”

    > It is not the job of the Commission to be “best friends” with any member country but to promote the “general interest” of the EU

    So how does an economic depression promote the general interest ?

  15. @ seafóid

    I think that it will come as news to the Commission that it is promoting an economic depression. Do you have the figures to prove it?

    By the way, it occurs to me that “promotion of the general interest of the EU” would translate in the context of the US as “bipartisanhip”.

  16. DOCM,
    The EZ is seriously underperforming due to appalling policy & governance . Draghi bought time and the pols have done nothing to move the situation along . The European project is one crisis away from collapse while the Anglo Saxon economies are improving.

  17. @Dr. President Barroso & Minister Gilmore

    Russia has, allegedly, taken over Crimea without a shot being fired; impressive.

    The European Commission has assisted in the Financial System takeover of the Irish Citizenry without a shot being fired; impressive. Empirical fact.

    The present and previous Irish administrations have assisted in the Financial System takeover of the Irish Citizenry without a shot being fired; impressive. Empirical fact.

    Crimeans are patently better off; at least they get to vote on the issue.

    @DOCM

    Mirabile dictu! It has been confirmed by the BAU of the BBHS that you recently registered 1.3 nano-equivalents [on a 0-10 scale] on the ‘Humility Index’. Well done.

    The BAU briefly considered offering you a ‘Fig Leaf’, similar to The Gurriers, – until a 15 year old transition year student on work placement noted that you continue to register a perfect ‘zero’ on the ‘SHAM€ Index’. Impressive.

  18. @ TMD

    Events may confirm your long-standing view. I take leave to doubt it.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/07/fitch-affirms-european-stability-mechani-idUSFit69246520140307

    Notably;

    “Member states agreed in 2013 to extend ESM’s mandate to Direct Recapitalisation Instruments (DRI), aimed at financial institutions in the eurozone. DRI will become operational once the Single Supervisor Mechanism has been approved, ie not before November 2014. In Fitch’s view, capital injections into banks, which are inherently riskier than loans and not protected by PCS, will likely weaken ESM’s intrinsic credit quality, making its IDR reliant on support from EAMS.”

  19. Jose’s good-news speech dodged all vital issues

    Barroso missed an opportunity to address the policy failings behind the eurozone crisis

    ” Barroso’s Cork speech contains not a single reference to errors made in designing the common currency, or to any failures in its subsequent crisis management.”

    “Barroso stated in Cork, “We are delivering on the promise that the taxpayer will not be called upon in future to bail out banks that get into difficulty.”

    This statement is simply untrue.

    ‘This is dangerous talk, creating the illusion that serious problems have either passed or are in the course of being addressed.

    [Colm McCarthy; link above from Commission’s top spinning_fan]

    Worrying! Must be dumbing down in UCC.

  20. @Dr President Barroso & Minister Gilmore

    ‘Irish people still paying the painful price for folly over banks

    Opinion: The continent is being reordered along German lines and wages forced down’ by Sahra Wagenknecht

    Europe’s biggest problem is that it seems to expect taxpayers to pay for bank speculation. This is a problem with three aspects: the dominance of banks, the European Union and German chancellor Angela Merkel.

    […] Half a decade ago, we experienced the worst economic and financial crisis since the 1930s, when banks’ operations were swamped by the speculation of their investment bank operations, requiring taxpayer-funded rescues. Even now the European Commission has not been capable of separating the two. Quite the opposite: the European banking union will provide further taxpayer billions for criminal banks to manipulate currency rates and interest rates without liability for their shareholders and creditors.

    Merkel, meanwhile, uses EU institutions to set aside democracy, reorder the continent along German lines and drive down real wages for good across Europe. At the same time, German companies have piled up huge export surpluses, financed by our trade partners via loans. This has destroyed the internal market and the euro, while the Merkel doctrine has led Europe into depression and created a lost generation.

    […]
    Model for disaster
    The European Commission celebrates the Irish example as a successful model for others. In the past, it celebrated another Irish model: low taxes for companies and capital from abroad that led to a property bubble and ended in disaster. Not for the banksters and international creditors, of course, but for Irish families, workers and pensioners.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/irish-people-still-paying-the-painful-price-for-folly-over-banks-1.1715429

    Quite!

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