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Monday, January 17, 2011

Your new man in Brussels

The UK will soon have a new man in Brussels - Jon Cunliffe who will take over from Kim Darroch - to represent the country in the endless behind-the-scenes negotiations that form the backbone of EU decision-making.

In the Mail on Sunday James Forsyth commented:
...it is encouraging that David Cameron is about to make the tough- as-teak Jon Cunliffe Britain’s new ambassador to the EU.

Intriguingly, Cameron is appointing someone who has never worked in the Foreign Office.

Cunliffe is not your typical Sir Humphrey. He didn’t go to Oxbridge and took his economics degree at night-school. Even more unusually, he enjoys saying No to foreigners.
But Douglas Carswell isn't impressed. On his blog, he writes:
Predictably, the spin behind Cunliffe’s appointment is that he is “tough as teak”, a man who likes saying “no” to foreigners. Those who brief the press attach great importance to the fact he’s not from the overtly federalist Foreign Office.

Yet the idea Cunliffe’s appointment means a change of approach is balls. If anything, it confirms that it’ll be EU business as usual.

It was Cunliffe who negotiated the Stabilisation Mechanism deal leading to the ECOFIN meeting in May, whereby Britain accepted enormous liabilities to try to prop up the Euro. He thereby managed to make us part of the Euro debt union, if not the currency union.
What's clear is that the importance of this position - the UK's Permanent Represenative to the EU - hardly can be overestimated...

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