Thursday, November 19, 2009

Storm clouds on the horizon in Brussels...

The European Union's mandarins completed the process of shoving through some forced integration in the form of the Lisbon Treaty, just ratified by all member states. One high-profile change is the creation of a post of "President of Europe" and its first officeholder will be current Belgian Prime Minister Herman van Rompuy. Which leaves an opening for the job of the most thankless and difficult head of government post in the developed world.

I have a fascination for Belgian politics which has been reflected on this blog. I wrote a briefer two years ago on Belgian politics, which were remarkable at the time for going an astounding 168 days between an election and the formation of a government. In capsule form, Belgium consists of two linguistic groups, one Flemish and one Francophone, that are not only separate nations, but have created a Belgian system of government that reserves almost all powers to those separate nations. Thus, finding a head of government who can satisfy both sides is near impossible. In 2007, Yves Laterme was tapped to be such a person, and despite an early wobble, lasted over a year until brought down by a banking scandal. His successor Herman von Rompuy endured through a relatively quiet period until this promotion.

While beaming with pride at their prime minister's promotion, some Belgians are already asking...what next? Prime Ministerial tenure is averaging a Bolivian 11 months recently, and decent candidates seem to be running short. The list is so thin that the most likely replacement is...Yves Leterme. The guy kicked out for pushing judges to rule in a certain direction on a major financial bankruptcy.

We'll close with an original piece by new European President Herman van Rompuy, famed for his haiku:
Hair blows in the wind
After years there is still wind
Sadly no more hair

No comments: