Tuesday 24 February 2009

King of the Summit

Summits are a vital part of the European system, a simple fact that underlines the powerlessness of the Commission and European Parliament in times of crisis (and since the EU is always in crisis...). However there is an art to summitry: the main goal is to agree on a direction and move everyone together along it towards a goal (which need not be clearly defined). A bit like the EU as a whole.

But to move everyone along, everyone needs to be a part of it - and feel like a part of it. After Sunday's mini-summit in Berlin, which is ahead of the EU summit on March 1st, several countries are reportedly irked that they weren't invited to the party to decide that something must be done. What exactly? Well, it was decided at Berlin that the global financial and economic system should be fixed.

I know, I'm disappointed too; when will Berlusconi reveal his Marxist plans?

So what was the summit about really? There were more than the EU G20 countries there, so it wasn't just to decide on a common position for the summit in London in April; could it also be aimed at deciding a common position at the EU summit in March? Perhaps to ensure that the "west" (though not all of it) have a common position as well as the "east" which will have a summit of its own?

And where does this leave the countries left over?

All this summitry is turning poisonous.

In other news, a group of experts will probably announce that there should be a new EU bank watchdog. Common sense, right? Especially after the revelations that banking business in the past has lead to the situation where an eastern European collapse could bring down a lot of the west's banking system with it - illustrating the enormous flows of money between member states. But... member states might not be able to agree on it? Maybe a summit is needed...

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