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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

'Le Barroso bashing' continues in France

If you thought the wave of French attacks on European Commission President José Manuel Barroso was ebbing away, you were wrong. Today, it was the turn of French Socialist MP Claude Bartolone - who's also the President of the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament - to fire on all broadsides.

Bartolone told Le Parisien,
"Barroso is an outdated man. Angela Merkel is right when she says that he is a casting mistake [not sure what Mr Bartolone is referring to here]…His way of acting is intolerable…But, above all, Barroso embodies a Europe that no longer corresponds to today’s world…Barroso is not the Europe of the XXI century, more protective, more concerned about growth and employment."
Importantly, it seems the French government is not distancing itself from the latest remarks made by Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg, who has accused Barroso of being "the fuel" of France's far-right Front National and other populist forces across Europe, such as Beppe Grillo's Five-Star Movement.

On the contrary, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (see picture), the government's spokeswoman, told the press today,
"As regards the substance of the remarks, that is, reminding the European Commission that European governments and the people they represent have their role to play on the European stage…these are remarks we do share."
With respect to French media, Libération's Brussels correspondent Jean Quatremer brings up a point that will sound familiar to regular readers of our blog (remember the Le Monde editorial likening Barroso to a chameleon?). He writes,
"By promoting this [free trade] treaty [with the US], that risks translating into a rise of euroscepticism, Barroso shows that his agenda is no longer European, but Atlantic. According to our information, he is preparing to campaign to obtain the post of Secretary General at the UN or NATO. For that, he needs the consent of the Americans – hence the guarantees he gives them [on the EU-US free trade deal] and the attacks on France."
The last time French President François Hollande and Barroso were sitting at the same table - at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland - le nouveau spat had just kicked off. What will they tell each other when they meet for the EU summit in Brussels tomorrow, we wonder...   


Ray said...

Perhaps the French should deal with Barroso as they did with the Rainbow Warrior ?

Jesper said...

Barroso does seem like a good example of a powerful person who is not in touch with the concerns of the people he is supposed to serve - the citizens of EU.

Claiming that he is the cause of inconvenient opinions being voiced and the cause of those opinions being supported appear to be a typical analysis by an out of touch analyst/politician.

However, if he was/is the (unintended?) cause to peoples opinions being heard then shouldn't that be seen as a good thing?

I'd say that the current form of the EU is outdated and Barroso might be a symbol for the things that are outdated but removing him will not change or remove the need for a reform of the EU. I'd say that politicians that are blaming all on Barroso are populist and they might also be trying to replace him in his position in a continued unreformed system...

Rik said...

From the Freanch side a welcome distraction. From the EU side something on which Barosso is of course right, but at the same time better had kept his mouth shut.

Imho it is not without reason why B has been taken as a target. He simply is hardly popular overall (seen their own poll) and very unpopular in several seperate countries. You take on somebody that looks strong but effectively is weak.
Barosso is simply not high quality stuff. Totally predictable in his approach, also when another strategy would have been better.
Priority setting is a disaster (probably also because it is way over this head). The EU has in his term 2 main priorities: solve the EU crisis and create a platform with the population that makes the necessary changes possible. To solve the Euro crisis and the latter to solve the weaknesses in the set up. Euro crisis all solutions from Brussels come from Rompuy and re the latter the platform that there was is eroding and rapidly.

Fully agree with Jesper. Barosso is a weak candidate but by far the biggest problem is the structure. And you do not solve that with firing Barosso.

Anonymous said...


I think you miss the French point here. Getting rid of Barroso is not to get a stronger candidate but to get a more French one.

Its becoming increasingly clear that the French feel they have lost control of the European project or their version of it which is French hegemony financed by German efforts.

Rik said...

@Anonymous 8.28
It is difficult to believe that the French actually do this to get Barroso out.
Very unlikely to happen even if they put a lot of effort in it. And they will have made a lot of enemies on the way (to nowhere).

The French ruling the European project was yesterday. The German's and some others have taken over. It is simply money talks and France is in desperate need of money itself.
Anyway effectively mainly the Northern European voter has taken over, rather than the politicians. Most of Merkel's actions are simply nearly completely based on with what she can get away at home. And similar with the Finns and the Hols.
Things have simply got too much in the public (and that is not going to get away). In the perception of the voter in general Europe has become of huge importance for the daily stuff (such as the economy).
Which means the actual voting will largely be based on it. And in the North they increasingly donot like what they see. With the trend clearly going South and the next year mainly bad EU news so the trend will normally continue.
Mainly well educated groups are supporting the EU and these will notice when growth in the EZ falls structurally behind of that of other countries.

Simply looks to me as posing for the homecrowd (probably not very convincingly, roughly of the same magnitude as Cheney trying to discredit the NSA leak). And a distraction from the problems at home and an attempt to put the blame of that with someone else. Not very likely to happen.
Their businessmodel is broke and except LePen nobody has a new one. Imho however LePen's is even crappier than the existing one. But nevertheless when people have had enough long enough they simply might give it a try. In which case Barroso should really worry about his job.

Actually I donot think they (French government) really know what they are doing and grasp the bigger picture. The French government makes 'Ed' look having stable, coherent and well considered policies. More likely it is caused by people that had to let steam off and got an own life.
Hardly anything looks well considered and carefully planned with this French goivernment.

Leaves aside that Barroso better had kept his mouth shut. Nearly nothing to gain and likely to pick up a battle because of it. Simply not too clever, simply Barroso.

Anonymous said...

It isn't so much Baarroso but the unelected democratically deficient body he is at the head of which needs to go. Whilst he is the mouthpiece of it, he doesn't hold a portfolio, it is the other political failures who are spewing out edicts every day. Rumpy has no power at all he is simply the figurehead, and building his pension pot. We all know that the only people who are benefiting from the eussr are the politicians, it is time to tear this unneeded edifice down.

clinihyp said...

So Nigel Farage with his insight and open comments is right when he accuses Barrosa of being an idiot!

Anonymous said...


So the outgoing Barrosso has been cast as the scapegoat, to be painted with all the sins of the EUSSR and its bankster creators, and sent into the wilderness, leaving all the EUSSR criminals freed of their sins.


Barrosso, Cameron, von Rompuy, Scheuble ... Draghi ... the whole ugly, psychopathic gang need to follow Barrosso into the wilderness if Europe is ever to return to its beautiful diversity, tolerance and economic dynamism.

Alain Tripier said...

Shame on Barroso ! seeing what happen in his own country, where a minister tell to Young people, leave your country, go in Africa or elsewhere ! 40 years after Salazar