Today marks the start of the French presidency of the EU. Sarkozy’s task as president? To guide the union from the post-Irish referendum confusion into a fresh new dawn of harmony and mutual appreciation, to an EU both truly united and sure of its purpose.
Yes, the Polish president may have refused to ratify Lisbon as well, but he’s a homophobic right-wing nutter, everyone knows that. We’ll pretend that hasn’t happened, just as we’ll pretend the Irish no vote hasn’t happened. And worst case scenario we’ll put our fingers in our ears, go “la la la la la!” whenever anyone else speaks, and then act as if we’re all singing from the same hymnsheet when we aren’t even singing from the same hymnbook. It’ll all work out fine in the end.
To wit, a case in point, from the reception the French Ambassador to the Court of St James (aka to the UK, for those not au fait with outmoded chivalry), held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London the Saturday before last to mark the start of the French EU presidency (to which I was kindly invited):
The French Ambassador speaks, listing France’s three priorities for her presidency of the EU as:
3) The people of Europe
Up next, a representative of the British government (whose name I didn’t catch and whom I didn’t recognise), listing what the UK thinks are the three French priorities:
1) Energy and energy security
2) Climate change
Followed, of course, by much shaking of hands, smiling, and mutterings about how great it was that everyone was in agreement. No mention of France focussing on more abstract concepts (in an effort to reunite the EU around core shared ideals, so entirely understandable) while the UK focusses on practicalities. No acknowledgement of the complete lack of anything in the way of similarity in what the two representatives have just stated as being the key priorities. Just carrying on regardless like a couple of deaf old ladies over tea and biscuits.
“I said let’s prioritise Climate change, Ivy.”
“Culture and diversity, you say? Why Ethel, what a lovely idea! How about doing something to get the people of Europe on board while we’re at it?”
“You’re entirely right – we really should do something about all those migrants crossing the borders.”
At this rate we’re never going to get anywhere.