Hell. If it’s not McCreevy saying he’s not read the Treaty of Lisbon then it’s French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner stating his ignorance. As reported by the Financial Times Kouchner today said: “No one understands the institutions and no one’s interested. No one understands anything, not even me.” What a bloody idiot. Bernard that’s what you’re paid for. You’re French Foreign Minister.

Let’s underline it – the French Foreign Minister, responsible for chairing at least 5 General Affairs and External Relations Councils (GAERC) in the next 6 months, is saying he doesn’t have a clue how the EU works. GAERC is the crucial decision making body for EU foreign affairs activities, and it comprises foreign ministers from all 27 Member States. Kouchner will also be present at European Council meetings and is supposed to play a major role in the running of the Presidency.

Yet each country’s Presidency of the European Union is a delicate undertaking, a balance of administrative competence, neutral deal brokering, and agenda setting. The worst Presidency this decade was the previous French Presidency that culminated in the acrimonious summit in Nice in December 2000. Looks like Kouchner and Sarkozy (with his bull-in-a-china-shop approach) are setting out to surpass the acrimony of the start of the decade provided by Chirac and Jospin.


  1. Central Scrutiniser

    Arcane complexity is part of the Institutions’ modus operandii. Think of Jim Hacker’s first day bafflement at the Department of Administrative Affairs, multiply it by a hundred and translate it into French.

    Just making a payment is hugely complicated, never mind an entire purchase. If Bernard Kouchner started now he wouldn’t understand it until it was all over. But he doesn’t need to bother because he has people around him who know it all backwards.

  2. @Tim: time to get out of what? Out of France for the French? Kouchner in the end is the French Foreign Minister and only happens to chair GAERC in the next 6 months…

  3. Tim Worstall,

    Nothing compared to the alternative morons, I presume.

  4. So, we are indeed led by ignorant morons.

    Time to get out then, eh?

  5. Jon,

    Try to look on the bright side of things. If leading politicians start to admit that the EU institutions and responsibilities are overly complex, there is at least a small chance that they could start thinking about simpler structures, better accountability and more direct (democratic) legitimacy.

    Perhaps we need more of these admissions – and then real reform(?)

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