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Van Rompuy’s EU summit dinner – an insider’s guide

European Union heads of state and government are meeting for dinner in Brussels tonight (May 27) at the request of Belgium’s Herman Van Rompuy, who chair’s the European Council. According to his invitation, they are to take stock of the European election results.

Here, provides a ‘Kremlinology guide’ to the discussion that will take place.

By Justin Stares

VAN ROMPUY: I would like to invite you to an informal dinner in Brussels on 27 May 2014.

Translation: I am getting in first, asserting my role before you agree to appoint someone to replace me. As it happens I had a gap in my calendar anyway. And yes, I have been told to do this by the Germans.

A few days before, European citizens will have cast their vote for the European Parliament.

Translation: This looks pretty bad. The prospect of five years with Marine Le Pen and Nigel Farage on your back is enough to prevent anyone wanting to work in Brussels ever again.

Some may have voted for or against the European project as such…

Translation: But most  were actually voting on what they think about how you run your countries. If you think your going to pass the blame off on us you’ve got another thing coming.

…but many more will have expressed themselves on how they want to shape our Union.

Translation: Most of which would be physically impossible if not fatal, but we may have to sit and listen to David Cameron telling us that he told us so, and pick up on some of his ideas…

I would like us to discuss the outcome of the elections and to look at what we can learn from its results.

Translation: Help!!!!!!!

It will be too early to decide about names.

Translation: Did you see those ridiculous presidential debates? We can’t let any of those losers bounce you into a decision.  What we’re afraid of is American-style gridlock you see. And by the way – please don’t impose that Danish woman on us. Did I mention no selfies at dinner?

We will talk about the process leading to the European Council proposing a candidate for the future Presidency of the Commission to the European Parliament for election…

Translation: …and remind those annoying Euro MPs that this is not a forgone conclusion. Why, someone new could throw his hat into the ring. By the way, are you looking for a compromise candidate?

… as set out in the Treaty on the European Union and in Declaration 11 to that Treaty, and how to organise our work over the coming weeks.

Translation: Can we please try to avoid vetoes and deadlock? Angry debates are bad for my hiatus hernia. Aren’t I entitled to a “Lame Duck” period and transitional benefits like they get in Washington?

In this context, it is important to reflect on the challenges for the Union ahead of us…

Translation: Ok, OK, so we screwed up on Ukraine, we have depressed economies anywhere that grows olives, Draghi might close too many banks, and they hate us on both sides of the political spectrum….

on our priorities for the next years…

Translation:  …to survive and stop them taking all the budget back

… and on the best way to achieve them.

Translation: …to divide and rule, while preventing treaty changes that Cameron wants.

In recent years we have been working hard for the stability of the euro area.

Translation:  I pray every night that all the bailouts are not called in at once.

… we have reoriented and reformed our economies (not)

…we have fought for growth, jobs and competitiveness.

Translation: …but it hasn’t worked, so can we have some more money from Germany? What on earth do we do if Deflation sets in? Did you know that the last time this many young people were out of jobs they let in Hitler?

We have dealt with major developments on the international scene.

Translation: But not very well. The other side of the Mediterranean is on fire after the Arab spring; Syria and Lebanon are on fire. The Turkey we all fancied getting into the EU is looking a bit dodgy and dysfunctional. Russia has gone hostile. We have no navy, and are forced to rely on France of all nations for visibility in Africa. Did you know that Belgium owned a good chunk of that continent?

I believe that, thanks to the responses we provided, today’s Europe is different…

Translation: older, more bent, tired, divided…

…and emerging stronger than five years ago

Translation: …which would not be hard given the chaos our economies were in then.

We must continue our action, together with the other institutions, and work towards a stronger EU, with more economic growth and more jobs.

Translation: And motherhood and apple pie…

Following the Presidential elections in Ukraine and ahead of the G7 meeting in Brussels, we will naturally also exchange views on related developments.

Translation: Please copy me in when you email each other on this one OK?

I very much look forward to greeting you in Brussels on 27 May…

Translation: …and hearing about the sinecure you have in stall for me

Yours etc

PS: please don’t bring up the poem that I was unfairly forced to remove from my website. As I said at the time, it was my mother-in-law’s favourite. And any mention of that flippin’ French journalist will trigger a temper tantrum like you’ve never seen. 


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