Giscard’s Turtle A Councilist — What Herb Thinks

It’s out of the closet: Giscard’s turtle is a councilist!

As I’ve been reporting, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, president of the Convention on the Future of Europe, has a turtle with a dragon’s head on his desk to inspire him. How does it inspire him? Since Giscard says the turtle is a symbol of longevity and prudence, I guess it must inspire him to be prudent and take his time with his Convention’s work.

At this moment his Convention is occupied with a hot debate over what type of presidency will rule the EU beast in 2004.

Here’s the problem: In 2004 the EU beast will be enlarged to a huge monster made up of 25 nations. So, if the current rotating presidency isn’t changed, in 2004 the EU beast will have 25 rotating heads. And, the current 15 rotating heads are already giving the EU beast quite a headache.

The reason for the headache is all the beast’s little heads want their turn at being president. Now that they know after enlargement they can’t have a turn at the presidency every six months anymore, they’re having quite a scuffle over who will. Most of the smaller heads want a stronger president in the Commission. The bigger heads — especially those with horns (EU military powers) — want a stronger president in the Council.

Recently, two of the horned beast’s heads — France and Germany — came up with the idea of a dual presidency — one president in the Council and one in the Commission. And, since France and Germany are considered the motor behind the EU, many see this as a good compromise and are giving the idea a serious look.

One part of the Franco-German plan that makes it so appealing to the hornless heads is that it also strengthens the role of the EU Parliament. The plan calls for this stronger president in the Commission to be elected by the Parliament. This is something the little heads have always wanted.

But now Giscard has come out against this last part of the plan. He doesn’t want the Parliament to elect the Commission president. Why? According to the report, Giscard wants to strengthen the powers of the Council. (Read about it here.) So, evidently he wants the Council to have more say over who becomes president in the Commission.

Actually, this is in line with what I already suspected. I always believed Giscard was a councilist. You see, Giscard is the person who came up with the idea of a Council in the first place. So, as I’ve said before, I suspect his Convention is more for show than anything else.

Besides, his inspiration is a turtle — a turtle with a dragon’s head. If that 10-nation alliance in the Council is in fact those 10-horns of prophecy, it stands to reason the turtle would be a councilist.

Giscard’s turtle may have just come out of its closet.

— Herb Peters
1/23/03