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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Tusk and Mogherini: Europe's new 'dream team'? Our initial thoughts

Europe's new 'dream team'?
As we noted in our previous post, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades had sort of spoiled the surprise. Anyway, now it's official: Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has been appointed new European Council President, and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini will succeed Baroness Ashton as the EU's foreign policy chief (aka High Representative for Foreign Affairs).

A couple of initial thoughts:
  
Donald Tusk 

Tusk has economically liberal and pro-free trade instincts. Most importantly from the UK's point of view, he comes from outside the euro area - and will therefore be sensitive to the concerns of non-euro countries when it comes to safeguarding the integrity of the single market, a point he made during his press conference:
Tusk also explicitly committed himself to ensuring the UK stays in the EU and endorsing (some) EU reforms:
That said, Tusk is also likely to oppose fundamental changes to EU rules on free movement; although he did say that so-called 'welfare abuse' can be addressed, as we've noted, for many the debate has moved on from the issue of 'fairness' to that of 'volume', something Cameron will be under huge pressure to place at the centre of his potential renegotiation. In the more immediate future, Cameron's early support for Tusk as new European Council President could increase the UK's chances of securing a big portfolio in the new European Commission.

Significantly, it has been confirmed that Tusk will also chair the summits of eurozone leaders - despite coming from a non-euro country. This looks like a big concession made, in particular, by French President Fran├žois Hollande - who was reportedly sceptical of such an arrangement. Perhaps Hollande hopes that giving ground on this point can help him secure the key post of European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs for his former Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici.

Federica Mogherini

The resistance to Mogherini, put up by Eastern EU member states over the past few weeks, has clearly been appeased by Tusk's appointment as new European Council President. It was noteworthy that Herman Van Rompuy stressed that Tusk and Mogherini would "work closely together to secure Europe's interests and values".  

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who has invested a great deal of political capital on Mogherini, seems to have achieved what he was looking for: a diplomatic victory in Brussels to sell to the electorate once back in Italy - where the big reforms are not going forward as fast as announcements, and the economic situation shows no signs of improvement. With the country in recession and deflation, it remains to be seen how much Italian voters will be impressed.
As we noted in our recent flash analysis, the role of High Representative is less crucial from the UK's point of view - as foreign policy remains primarily a national competence, with every EU member state having a veto. However, in light of the various geopolitical challenges facing the EU (and its neighbourhood), it is possible that Mogherini will play a greater - or at least more visible - role than her predecessor.

10 comments:

An English European said...

"Cameron's early support for Tusk as new European Council President could increase the UK's chances of securing a big portfolio in the new European Commission."

Early compared to what? Angela Merkel backed him months ago and Cameron had a personal spat recently over some ill-advised remarks about Polish immigrants.

This Commission is a complete disaster for Britain. Having nominated a complete nobody, it looks like our reward will be an irrelevant post. That's if the European Parliament don't veto him first.

Anonymous said...

Why worry about which post a UK national will get? They all have to take an oath to ignore national concerns and work for the greater good of the EU anyway.

Anonymous said...

Tusk - from one of the major European economies with a track record of success (not).

The EU does not represent me in any way shape or form. What a disaster.

SC

Anonymous said...

How does it matter who gets what position? It's always the same: more taxes, more Leviathan EU, less freedoms, etc.
It's only a matter of the speed.
Down with the EU!

Anonymous said...

How are Tusks's and Poland's interests the same as the UK's?

The UK is a net contributor nation and Poland a net begging bowl taker (EUR 10Bn in EU "aid") up to 2020.

No wonder Tusk opposes restrictions on the UK and immigration/benefits. He is just passing the cost and risk of MananaZone meltdown onto the UK.

The 100 Tory MPs are right - as their own electorate HAVE HAD ENOUGH.

UK out.

SC

Anonymous said...

No doubt the UK is a net contributor and Poland a net beneficiary. One the reasons for taking the EC job was that Tusk was only on a salary of £47k p.a as Polish Prime Minister. After living under the Soviet boot for over 60 years it has a lot of catching up to do. There is a lot wrong with the EU but an insular "what's in it for me" is short-sighted, especially given the belligerent threats from Putin's Russia. Britain needs allies and friends - it is no longer a super-power.

Anonymous said...

No doubt the UK is a net contributor and Poland a net beneficiary. One the reasons for taking the EC job was that Tusk was only on a salary of £47k p.a as Polish Prime Minister. After living under the Soviet boot for over 60 years it has a lot of catching up to do. There is a lot wrong with the EU but an insular "what's in it for me" is short-sighted, especially given the belligerent threats from Putin's Russia. Britain needs allies and friends - it is no longer a super-power.

Anonymous said...

Who cares which clowns are prancing around the tent?

They are all still clowns, and it is still all a circus.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12.37

"After living under the Soviet boot for over 60 years it has a lot of catching up to do"

I agree but why should the UK fund it out of debt that its children have to pay?

This represents a massive loss of competitive position for the UK and a loss of opportunity for its children.

Poland hasn't really reformed either and the figures make even less sense when you consider the fact that half the population of Poland now lives elsewhere in the EU. EU "aid" budgets need to be re-visited to reflect the fact that the northern European countries are taking a bigger hit.

SC

Rik said...

Tusk
Crap. Rompuy is an excellent mediator and because of being much more intelligent than the average mediacre there sees the inevidable much sooner.
Next to languageskills that equal my dog's. Appointing a guy from a non-EZ country who is unable to communicate in any other language than Polish as a guy the preside over the Council is madness.

Compared to nobility everybody is an improvement. However compared to a benchmarkfigure like Solano and jobrequirements she is simply crap. The swampgerman Timmermans is apparently to become a Commissioner. he is far better material than this woman. Simply an utterly weird system.