Foreign Policy Blogs

Elections a-go-go

Europeans took to the polls over the weekend, with perhaps unsurprising results: Spain's socialist Prime Minister Zapatero was reelected against a bland looking Mariano Rajoy, despite an economic crisis that still has to fully play out and France's governing UMP was given a shake-up in communal elections, serving as a warning sign that the electorate is unhappy with the ‘Hyper-President's’ globe-trotting, star-marrying, self-aggrandizing ways.

 What will this change for EU policy making? Not much. In fact: probably nothing. The Zapatero government is, as all post-Franco Spanish governments very pro-European. Difficulties arise over fisheries policies and minority issues, among other things, but that is ‘normal’ EU business. What the Economist points out, however, is that Zapatero's reelection could mean bad news for a prime minister who is already out of office: Tony Blair.

Where's the connection, you (rightly) ask? Well, according to the Economist's Europe blog, officials in the Council of Ministers are ruminating whether this vote means Mr. Blair's chances of becoming the Union's first standing president have fallen back to, well, nil. Because of their similarity in leadership style and their same political family, both men could come up against each other, but with Blair's anti-European (think Iraq war) stance, Zapatero could win out. The air in Brussels is rife with speculation on the entire presidency issue and of course nothing is set and done, as the Lisbon Reform Treaty is still in the ratification process, but these rumors will be interesting to watch. These two might not be so friendly with each other as the months drag on.

 

Author

Cathryn Cluver

Cathryn Cluver is a journalist and EU analyst. Now based in Hamburg, Germany, she previously worked at the European Policy Centre in Brussels, Belgium, where she was Deputy Editor of the EU policy journal, Challenge Europe. Prior to that, she was a producer with CNN-International in Atlanta and London. Cathryn graduated from the London School of Economics with a Master's Degree in European Studies and holds a BA with honors from Brown University in International Relations.

Areas of Focus:
Refugees; Immigration; Europe

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