EU Institutions

Barroso does not give up on NATO

M Barnier JM Barroso and A Tajani talk to media(BRUSSELS2) From "speculation". It is with this word that the President of the European Commission, José-Manuel Barroso, insisted that his enthusiasm for defense issues was not linked to future views on a post of Secretary General of NATO. . " This communication has nothing to do with my future, it has to do with the present of the European Commission which has decided to make its contribution to what is extremely important at European level. Any connection between this communication and what I might or might not do in the future is merely speculation." he replied to one of my colleagues. However, he did not clearly deny or deny that he was not interested in this position or that he was not thinking of it. The future is composed in the simple past...

An interest that is not unexpected

While the presence of the President of the European Commission on the press podium today to present the communication on defense policy alongside Commissioners Barnier (Internal Market) and Tajani (Industries) may have surprised some, we can say that it is in fact neither unexpected nor sudden. Having followed this work since it started, I have witnessed it. The President's office has been very regularly involved in this communication. And Barroso even issued a reminder letter to all of his commissioners to remind them of the importance of joint preparation work. A rather rare procedure to be reported... In the same way, President Barroso has started a real international tour taking him to the four corners of the globe in classic places for his post (USA, Russia, China, South Africa. ..) but also in a less traditional way in all "crisis" theaters (Middle East, Horn of Africa...). Let's bet that this tour is not over!

To speculate is to predict

To speculate in the economy is to foresee, and bet on the future, with a risk of losing... or winning. President Barroso knows this well. And he is preparing, step by step, his future, after the European Commission. The two mandates - President of the Commission and Secretary General of NATO - coincide. José-Manuel Barroso was also careful not to insult the future. The test was easy to do...

Between Europe and the USA, the heart does not swing...

I asked him if he had to choose between buying a C130 (American) or an A400M (European) which choice would he make? José-Manuel Barroso was careful not to give an answer... limiting himself to saying that he was "not there is no question of the Commission buying planes of its own ". It would, however, have been easy for him, without clearly stating "yes, I'm taking the A400M", to give some interesting characteristics of the A400M: a European aircraft, jumbo jet, jointly manufactured, of recent technology, which cannot be compared to the other device. After all the dithyrambic declarations on the need to work together and strengthen the industry like Europe's defence, it couldn't be more logical, and almost obligatory.

Apparently, even today, 20 years after this question was posed to JM Barroso, then Portuguese Prime Minister, giving up buying American is still just as difficult (read: When JM Barroso dropped the Airbus A400M, out of friendship…). Not responding is already responding. Today, J.-M Barroso not only does not deny this anti-European choice. But he confirms it! All speculation is possible...

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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