Wednesday, September 1, 2010

State of the Union Address

Unlike the United States, the European Union has two Presidents - there is Commission President Barroso and there is Council President Van Rompuy and both of them consider themselves to be Presidents of the EU. There's glory for you.

Commission President Barroso is about to score against the other guy - he intends to give a State of the Union Address to the European Parliament on Tuesday. As Honor Mahoney says on EUObserver
The address, given its name and the EU’s pretensions to be a heavyweight international player, attracts comparisons with the annual speech by US presidents at the beginning of each year. President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address had about 48 million TV viewers in the US and millions more globally. This reflects two things. First that a lot of what the US does affects the rest of the world. And, second, that US citizens and much of the rest of the world have a strong emotional engagement with the US and its president – be it positive or negative.
There is something else: the United States is a country and its people feel it to be so. Its President, whatever one may think of him personally, was elected according to the US Constitution that had been decided on in an accountable fashion. Would that make any difference in people's attitudes? Just asking.


  1. Let's not be stingy: the EU also has a president of the parliament and a president of the Council of the European Union (currently the Belgian PM, Yves Leterme - yup, I did have to look him up).

  2. Didn't know there was a Belgian PM as I thought they were having another political crisis.

  3. As there's currently no rush to ram an EU treaty through Belgium's parliament, I'm surprised that the country has even bothered to award itself a PM, but it seems to be him.

  4. There seems to be some disagreement about that as, according to Bloomberg, Elio di Rupo is trying to form a government and the King won't let him give up. A blog is called for methinks. Thanks for the idea, Clarence.