Apparently, Van Rompuy is an European federalist (see Jean Quatremer’s post). This is great news albeit bizarre ones… Isn’t it weird that the first president of the European Council, who is meant to represent the interests of the member states is more federalist than the president of the European Commission (meant to represent the European interest)???
So far, if there is anything that Barroso has proven to be capable of is to listen and obey the European Council. He has never dared to call himself a federalist. In small circles he has even mentioned that he is not sure of what he really is! In fact, he is probably the less federalist Commission president that I can recall…
On the other hand Van Rompuy comes from Belgium, a country that knows what federalism is and hence knows what he is talking about when he says that he is a “non-fundamentalist” federalist. It is excellent that we have a federalist presiding the European Council because this will allow him to shape the position in the right way; i.e. not wanting to be the head of the executive or use a kind of a prime minister approach that probably someone like Tony Blair would have taken on.
However, I still believe that it would be good (or even mandatory) if the president of the most communitarian body of the EU would be a federalist. History tends to put people in strange positions but such a contradiction of vocations in the two top jobs of the EU is quite remarkable.
Wouldn’t it make more sense that Barroso becomes the president of the European Council and Van Rompuy the president of the European Executive?
If there is common agreement between the two a swap could be arranged. I believe they would sleep better at night if they would know that during the day their political beliefs match their political roles.