James Forsyth

The EU plumps for obscure and even more obscure as its first president and foreign minister 

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You can say this for the European Union, it never misses a chance to disappoint. The first EU president is a Belgium Prime Minister who is obscure even by Belgium standards and its first foreign minister is a Brit who would be treated as a joke if they had been made Foreign Secretary. 

From a British political point of view, Brown will be able to take credit for getting the foreign minister post for a Brit. But the price he has had to pay for this is accepting a federalist who believes in EU wide taxes as president. 

Thinking from a Tory perspective, Van Rompuy is both an opportunity and a problem. He is an opportunity in that he makes the case for renegotiation, if this is the direction Europe is going we need opt-outs and safeguards. He is a problem in that his actions and views are likely to make Europe an issue when the leadership would rather park it for a while.

PS The speed with which my earlier prediction unwound is proof that no one should try and make their living by betting on the European Union.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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