09 SEP 2010
Charlemagne | The Economist
POOR José Manuel Barroso. For the past nine months the president of the European Commission has lived in the shadow of that other European leader, Herman van Rompuy, president of the European Council. During the economic crisis Mr Barroso has been accused by the European parliament of being “absent”, and big member states seemed happy to keep it that way. It was Mr Van Rompuy who was given the job of leading a task force to draw up proposals on the future governance of the euro zone.
It was Nigel Farage, leader of the eurosceptic UK Independence Party, who had the best line of the day. He told Mr Barroso the state-of-the-union speech “doesn’t quite put you on a par with President Obama, because there is one fundamental difference: he, of course, is elected, and you are not. Forty-eight million people watched his address, and here in the European Parliament we even have to beg to get the MEPs to turn up to listen to you.” Ouch.