The Lisbon Treaty (as its failed twin predecessor, the European constitution), was meant to provide the EU with more transparency in its decision making process as well as provide a stable and strong leadership by creating the jobs of President and Foreign Minister, and was "marketed" as such by politicians to voters. Bullshit! Once again, people in Europe are left naked.
Tonight decision to appoint Herman Van Rompuy, the Belgian prime minister, for the presidential job, and Catherine Ashton of Britain, the European Union’s trade commissioner, as foreign minister, the two low-profile candidates with no international clout and little or no international experience just exemplify that large European countries have no intention to give away their prerogatives. I could laugh about it if it were a funny joke with no consequence. But I cannot: does anybody believe that these two will have any credibility on the international stage with the Chinese, Indians, Russians, Americans, Brazilians, OPEC, etc? And this at a time of worldwide power shifting? No way: this is just a shameful failure.
The decision process itself was totally opaque and the choice of the two appointees was the result of a mix bag of vetoes, bargaining, bullying being close doors. Next appointee? Michel Barnier for the internal-markets post, which writes financial-services rules and Christine Lagarde to head up the Eurogroup. The big loosers? Jean-Claude Junker, the Luxembourg Prime Minister, and the UK (not surprising with "Moron" Brown who was at the helm of the sale of the BoE gold when Chanceler of the Exchequer and gold at the lowest over the past 20 years). The winners: Nicolas Sarkozy and to a lesser extent Angela Merkel (the German will get the Presidency of the BCE when Jean-Claude Trichet steps down).
As reported by the NYT, Jean Quatremer predicted in the French newspaper Libération that “The E.U. will not wake up Friday morning to the George Washington called for by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, but with a René Coty, the last president of the Fourth Republic. Or even worse. All strong personalities will be eliminated by a crossfire of vetoes. And the secrecy of the deal gives the worst image possible, that of petty arrangements between friends that will produce a mediocre compromise.”
Unfortunately, Europe (its institutions and politicians) is indeed mediocre at best and getting worse as time passes by.