Thursday, April 07, 2011

Van Rompuy: EU should take credit for Libya action


With incredible (or perhaps entirely credible) audacity, not to say political conceit and jingoistic hubris, President Herman Van Rompuy has said the European Union ‘should take credit for international action which prevented a "bloodbath" in Libya’. Speaking to MEPs in Strasbourg on Tuesday (5 April), he said that British, French and UK (sic) strikes on Gaddafi targets on 19 March would ‘not have been possible’ without the ‘clear position’ taken on Libya at an EU summit one week earlier. He went on (and on):
"From the beginning of the crisis, the European Union was at the forefront: the first to impose tough sanctions; the first to impose a travel ban on leading figures in the regime; the first to freeze Libyan assets; the first to recognise the Interim Transitional National Council as a valid interlocutor. Without European leadership there would have been massacres ... We acted in time and without Europe nothing would have been done at the global level or at the UN level."
So, the EU prevented the Benghazi bloodbath, did it?

His Grace must have missed something.

And the Prime Minister must have dreamed his bilateral negotiations with President Sarkozy; imagined his late-night phone conversations with the US Secretary of State; fantasised about the UN brinkmanship which resulted in resolution 1973. And so must William Hague.

In fact, the Libya crisis showed the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy in all its vacuous inadequacy: there is no commonality in a union of disparate nations with different histories and conflicting (and sometimes mutually exclusive) security and defence concerns. The Lisbon Treaty says:
"The common security and defence policy shall be an integral part of the common foreign and security policy. It shall provide the Union with an operational capacity drawing on civilian and military assets. The Union may use them on missions outside the Union for peace-keeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security."
But what can be the common foreign policy of a group of nations who each view the others as foreign? The ‘High Commissioner’ was not high enough to be able to persuade Germany to support the UK and France in imposing a no-fly zone over Benghazi, and without Germany there can be no such thing as ‘common’ EU policy on anything. The truth (which may come as a slight surprise to President Van Rompuy) is that while the UK, France and the US have provided the ‘operational capacity’ for this conflict, the EU has been shuffling aid packages and assisting refugee bureaucracy. While the grown-ups deal with military strategy, the EU cleans the kitchen sink.

Baroness ‘High Representative’ Ashton isn’t even playing second fiddle here: she’s actually not in the orchestra at all. She’s happily preparing the tea trolley for the interval, and she’ll enter the arena after the concert to do a bit of sweeping up. It’s not entirely her fault, though. She’s barely a year into her job, and has absolutely no foreign policy experience at all. Her incompetence and inefficiency are characteristics of the whole EU outfit, and it is clearly taking her some time to realise that the EU’s 27 member states are a diverse bunch with little in common other than the desire of their political establishments to keep the boat afloat. Everyone else can see the iceberg ahead, but the captains just won’t listen. She did manage to issue a statement, though:
The European Union is extremely concerned by the events unfolding in Libya and the reported deaths of a very high number of demonstrators. We condemn the repression against peaceful demonstrators and deplore the violence and the death of civilians. We express our sympathy to the families and friends of the victims.

The EU urges the authorities to exercise restraint and calm and to immediately refrain from further use of violence against peaceful demonstrators. Freedom of expression and the right to assemble, as provided for in particular by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, are human rights and fundamental freedoms of every human being which must be respected and protected.

The EU calls on the authorities to immediately cease the blocking of public access to the internet and mobile phone networks. The EU also calls upon the authorities to allow media to work freely throughout the country.

The legitimate aspirations and demands of the people for reform must be addressed through open and meaningful Libyan-led dialogue.
Strong, impressive stuff, eh? This must have had Gaddafi shaking in his boots.

President Van Rompuy is trumpeting a fantasy if he believes this is the sort of initiative which prevented the bloodbath in Benghazi. The EU’s common foreign and security policy can never amount to anything more than lowest common denominator stuff. And not even Germany will protest against aid for civilians and refugees.

High Commissioner Ashton presides over a vast (and very expensive) monolith called the European External Action Service. It is supposed to herald the end of the Tower of Babel and bring member states ever closer to speaking with one voice on foreign policy. Then Europe will be a global player, shaping the new world order, heralding a thousand years of peace and security.

Until then, there is London, Paris and Berlin. And one gets the distinct impression that Tripoli takes them rather more seriously than it does Brussels.

25 Comments:

Blogger John said...

Well said your Grace ....

7 April 2011 at 09:56  
Blogger gfkw47 said...

If it wasn't so criminally insane for him to say such things it would be highly amusing. Maybe he was just trying to be ironic - and was suggesting that the EU should have done something instead of nothing.

7 April 2011 at 10:18  
Blogger Ernst, Tiddles and the case of the Traitorous PM said...

Sounds as deluded as G Brown.

Another declared saviour of the world, based on the expense, time, efforts and sacrifice of others.

"The truth (which may come as a slight surprise to President Van Rompuy) is that while the UK, France and the US have provided the ‘operational capacity’ for this conflict, the EU has been shuffling aid packages and assisting refugee bureaucracy. While the grown-ups deal with military strategy, the EU cleans the kitchen sink. " Perhaps it has found the best use for it's meagre talents. Navvy!

Ernst.

7 April 2011 at 10:40  
Anonymous MrJ said...

"But what can be the common foreign policy of a group of nations who each view the others as foreign?" Nail on head.

If this has been said before, I had missed it. If it is a first timer, this must be a blog worth attention, for yet more of the same.

The statement from that unhappy man styled "President" is too absurd. What biscuit should he take? A Belgian bun would be too good for him.

btw_ one information resource states: "No firm link has so far been established between the bun and Belgium; however, that country does produce as one of its specialities a very similar pastry (though with less icing) known as a couque suisse." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgian_bun)

Compare: The Chelsea bun, "a type of currant bun that was first created in the 18th century at the Bun House in Chelsea, an establishment favoured by Hanoverian royalty and demolished in 1839."

From same informant: "Couques suisses are available internationally, for example at Le Pain Quotidien bakeries throughout the world."

Does it begin to make better sense?

As for the Baroness of the UK Parliament, further comment superfluous.

7 April 2011 at 10:40  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

'Van Rompuy has said the European Union ‘should take credit for international action which prevented a "bloodbath" in Libya'

Suits me fine YG.

I say let him run with the whole EU thing, then when things go tits-up which they surely will a la Iraq, the UK will not be held responsible for the inevitable level of increasing military commitment and funding, or have to shoulder the blame for the repercussions from the eventual outcome.

7 April 2011 at 11:06  
Anonymous Preacher said...

EU foreign policy is non existent. The EU has as much clout as wet newspaper.
Ernst, you are correct that they have found their true vocation, but the wage bill far exceeds the job. When will we terminate their employment & cease this criminal waste of assets?. At least a hair dryer does a good job using hot air, but obviously Mr Van Rumpuy has no use for one.

7 April 2011 at 11:10  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Come on Cranmer, credit where it’s due. Emperor Van Rumpy Tumpy is the best leader Trumpton ever had. After all was it no he who harnessed the forces of Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb to beat that nasty Gadfly fellow?

7 April 2011 at 11:23  
Blogger Phil Taylor said...

Sadly this is not unexpected, as Your Grace comments in the first sentence, but what's even sadder is that I don't see our government offering a referendum for us to choose on whether we continue to burn money across the Channel or pull out and let the rest of them get on without our money.

7 April 2011 at 11:31  
Anonymous Hospitable Scots Bachelor said...

Talk about hubris! Has nobody told him that the opera ain't over till the fat lady sings?

7 April 2011 at 12:15  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

I can’t find it. I just can’t find: the EU Directive authorising action. It is verboten to move without being directed.

7 April 2011 at 13:06  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Your Grace, All I gather from ole Rumpey is 'gollum, gollum.' And, of course, his obsession with all that is precious.

7 April 2011 at 13:18  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I agree. It has been another brilliant piece of theatre from the EU. I believe Baroness Ashton should be commended for her brilliant work at the UNO together with Alain Juppe of the French Section.

The pilots of the EU Air Force have been superb shooting unarmed jet trainers on the ground.

That symbol of EU Power - the Charles de Gaulle - aircraft carrier has put to sea without breakdown and prjects European power just as that British symbol HMS Invincible is towed through the Med on is way to a Turkish breakers yard.

The EU is great.

The British are so fortunate that their Prime Minister refused to get involved and the glory of the New Libya can be recognised as an EU Triumph where the Social Charter will bring new rights to minorities.

Next stop Damascus unless we see the light !

7 April 2011 at 13:25  
Anonymous Paul said...

I tend to side with your opinion Your Grace...

7 April 2011 at 13:51  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Herman and Catherine bring a tear to the eye and a heave to the stomach as they embrace and pucker up.

7 April 2011 at 13:54  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

Perhaps Rumpy Pumpy is looking at it from the Quantum Physics perspective, lol.

7 April 2011 at 14:58  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Let him tale ALL the credit until we see how this debacle ends. We may need a fall-guy before we are done.

7 April 2011 at 15:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama should thank God someone else is stepping up to take credit for what will surely rank as one of the most misguided, inept and disastrous moves of all time. Once the Islamists consolidate their hold on the entire middle east and we have to go to war to stave off hordes of medieval barbarians, no one will want to touch this one with a 10-foot pole.

Of course, it doesn't necessarily look like a disaster for the western world now--but it will. It will.

[My apologies for originally putting this comment on the wrong thread. Bad eyes.]

7 April 2011 at 15:42  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

The fact Cameron walks like a Thunderbirds figure gave it away.

7 April 2011 at 16:26  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

A fine picture of Rumpole. Didn't someone say something about the charisma of a damp rag? Whatever he looks like, though, he must be a pretty skilled operator to have reached his current position.

7 April 2011 at 16:45  
Blogger Ernst, Tiddles and the case of the Traitorous PM said...

Your grace

Thanks for the link to article "'What is the Good of Establishment?' - a defence of the CofE in Standpoint Magazine by Prof. Nigel Biggar:

However I loved the page devoted to that Iron Chancellor..lol.. who saved the world, similarly to "EU should take credit for Libya action "

All a bunch of twisted chicaners.


"http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/features-march-11-gordon-brown%27s-recessional-tim-congdon-beyond-the-crash-recession"

Ernst

7 April 2011 at 16:59  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I think your grace has managed full marx :) on this post , couldnt agree more , Mrs Ashton was not exactly , how shall I put it, in the coalition of the willing from the off.
Considering Gaddafi could have been enjoying a luxury exile , the tradgey is now that he didnt take his option and it will finish in combat. His army must know they will be soon resource pressurised, there are crimes of there own doing waiting , I suspect it will be grizley in the end , but it his making . I just hope casualties are minimal ,but it is fine line between a siege having the effect and taking out his fighting capability to reduce cleansing efforts , when the breakthrough does come it will be some hard fighting.

7 April 2011 at 17:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ernst @10:40

I think you are being too generous suggesting they have any talent at all.

"http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/features-march-11-gordon-brown%27s-recessional-tim-congdon-beyond-the-crash-recession"

What do you think it was suggesting. That G Brown did well.

7 April 2011 at 21:46  
Blogger Ernst, Tiddles and the case of the Traitorous PM said...

An Anonymous communicant asked 7 April 2011 21:46

If you read the post by Tim Congdon, you will see that Brown went beyond his knowledge of fiscal competence as QE was something quite new to him..LOL.. and was bounced into it in desperation. That it appeared to work meant he them claimed he knew it would all along and claimed accolades for being 'Brave' enough to lead the world.

He was a LYING MORON is the gist, Ernst believes! Deluded at best say kind speaking others?

Ernst, my boy.

7 April 2011 at 22:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn’t that a picture of Mr. Burns of The Simpsons?

8 April 2011 at 09:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought it was that Sven Yorrrick Erikkson fellow of english football fame.

8 April 2011 at 09:47  

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