A busy week

One of the joys of consuming a lot of media is wading through the hubris: from Delors’ ‘confession’ that the Sun was right all along, to Aftenposten’s lead story on Gaddafi’s attempts to buy a Swedish football club.

But one area where I am inclined to agree with the journalists is that this week is a critical one in the European Union’s future development.  From today’s meeting between the French and German leaders, through to Friday’s European Council, if there is not a bridging of differences then it is hard to see how things can be resolved to anyone’s satisfaction.

The omen are mixed.  On the one hand, there is a greater sense of a ‘grand bargain’ between the main protagonists (notably with some movement by the German government and by the ECB); on the other, some fundamental differences remain.  Couple that to the talk of treaty revisions, and all the problems that will cause with both pro-integrationists (e.g. the European Parliament) and sceptics (e.g. the British government (or, more accurately, Conservative backbenchers)), and one has to have a pretty strong sense of inate optimism to see it all coming together.

I’m fortunate enough to be in Brussels this week, talking on my research, so I hope to be able to talk with fonctionnaires directly about this.  My guess is that even if they have stopped reading the news, they are still feeling the pressure.  Whether that helps or not, remains to be seen.