On Thursday, I was sitting in a hotel room in Turkey watching the live press conference in which the European Union made an “historic” decision to create a “President of Europe.” They chose Belgium Prime Minister Herman van Rompuy over Britain’s Tony Blair. If you’re thinking, “van who?”, don’t worry — you’re not alone. In one of the most undemocratic developments in recent history, the new leader of a half-billion Europeans is a name only 12% of them have even heard of. He was chosen unanimously by a council of other EU leaders, not by popular vote, and will take office January 1, 2010. Now that I’m home, I’m contemplating how quickly an unknown can rise to a position of great power. All this comes quickly on the heels of the historic passage of the EU “Lisbon Treaty” earlier this month. Noted the New York Times: “A landmark agreement aimed at giving the European Union a global stature on par with major powers like the United States and China cleared its last major hurdle on Tuesday….The treaty’s supporters contended that it was vital because the union’s rulebook was drawn up before the bloc began to expand, taking in 12 new nations since 2004. Its critics, however, contend that the document encroaches on national sovereignty and threatens to turn the European Union into a monolithic superstate.” We are watching the emergence of an increasingly unified and powerful Roman empire continue unabated, just as Bible prophesy tells us to expect in the “last days.”
Immediate implication of the move: van Rompuy’s “election/selection” will accelerate Turkey’s dramatic shift from NATO ally to ally of Iran, Syria and Russia. Why? Van Rompuy is an avowed opponent of Turkish entrance into the EU and the Turks are furious.
Some U.S. and European analysts are horrified by the selection of van Rompuy, ridiculing him as a bland dolt and claiming EU bureaucrats missed a great opportunity to select Blair and make the new presidential post truly a global game-changer. Such analysts are missing the point. EU leaders didn’t bumble into this appointment. They are determined to create an unrivaled superpower. They are determined to create the world’s most powerful political position in the presidency. But they want an EU-fanatic, not a British lone ranger. I’d never heard of van Rompuy until Thursday, but I have no doubt the EU leaders who chose him unanimously knew exactly what they were doing. I expect this guy to be a problem for the U.S., for freedom, and for Israel. Time will tell for certain.
Worth noting are some early press analyses of van Rompuy — not exactly favorable:
- The London Telegraph says, “Herman Van Rompuy’s quirky exterior conceals a ruthless political operator who will stop at nothing to get his way as president of the European Union.” Excerpts: “The ‘ideal candidate,’ said Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, for bring “consensus and cohesion” to a fractious EU of 27 member states. In reality, and behind his harmless, eccentric and literary persona, Mr Van Rompuy, 62, is a sharp political operator who is not above using dirty tricks to stymie his opponents. Europe’s leaders may find to their cost that the man they chose to chair their EU summits possesses dark arts that will be turned against anyone, such as an incoming Conservative prime minister, who challenges the Brussels consensus. Last year, six months before becoming prime minister, he abused his position as speaker of the Belgian parliament to cancel a politically inconvenient debate. To make doubly sure that MPs would be silenced, he had the locks on the plenary chamber’s doors changed so deputies could not get into their own parliament. The tactic was described by opposition MPs as a ‘coup d’etat.’ On another occasion, Mr Van Rompuy did not turn up in his office for a week to avoid opening a letter from opposition MPs demanding a debate. His skill as camouflaging himself as essentially harmless disarmed Gordon Brown who dropped British concerns over his federalist politics to allow him into the EU President post. Mr Van Rompuy is a supporter of the creation of an EU federal state, with its own anthem, flag and with powers to collect taxes on car fuel or financial transactions from Europe’s citizens.”
- The U.K. Independent quotes a colleague of van Rompuy who says, “He… operates in the shadows.”
- Time magazine calls van Rompuy’s rise to power a case of “the bland leading the bland,” notes that 11 months ago, even few in Belgium knew who he was
- But the European Voice notes he is a “shrewd political operator” who outfoxed Tony Blair for the top post
- Sky News: Blair loses out to Rompuy as EU president
- Lady Ashton to Replace Solana as EU foreign policy chief