Open Europe Blog

Following the infamous “Obama snub“, the ‘EU as global power’ project has suffered another humiliating dressing down this week. This time the reality check comes from the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Pascal Lamy, who, in his frustration with the shambolic organisation of the EU representation has set out some guidelines as to how the member states should behave at future WTO meetings:

“If one European takes the floor on one topic, and then another European takes the floor on the same topic, nobody listens. Nobody listens because either it’s the same thing and it gets boring, or it’s not the same thing and it will not influence the result at the end of the day….So the right solution, if I may, is at least to make sure that they speak with one mouth. Not one voice—one mouth—on each topic on the agenda. That would be a great improvement.”

More than a little patronising and far from the “unified EU voice” that those supporters of the Lisbon Treaty suggested. Gideon Rachman, reporting from the Brussels Forum of the German Marshall Fund on his FT blog, has offered an insight into how the EU is actually viewed by American diplomats:

“In the lobby of the conference hotel, I just bumped into some official Americans who had been to see senior people at the commission. They had delicately raised the question of which of the two European ‘presidents’ would represent the EU at future international summits. ‘Oh that’s all settled,’ they were told, ‘they’re both going.’ With enormous self-restraint, the Americans apparently refrained from laughing out loud, or banging their heads against the wall. Meanwhile European officials still maintain, with a straight face, that the Treaty has ‘simplified’ Europe’s structures.

Which pretty much sums it up.

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