I speak, of course, of Vaclav Klaus, the EUsceptic president of the Czech Republic. Nosemonkey explains the background.
The Berlin Declaration, for those of you who are lucky enough not to know, is the agreement German Chancellor (and current EU president) Angela Merkel was hoping to get the leaders of all 27 EU member states to sign this weekend.
In any case, it looks like poor old Angela’s cunning little plan just ain’t going to happen, the eurosceptic Czech president Václav Klaus pointing out that he can’t be expected to sign anything he wasn’t consulted on, that references to the environment and climate change within the text are ill-conceived, and that he is not prepared to commit the Czech Republic to a 2009 deadline to rush through reforms.
The upshot?Ms Merkel, conscious that a row with Mr Klaus would overshadow celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Union’s founding Treaty of Rome, will not ask him to sign the declaration.
Her spokesman said she would sign the statement on behalf of all 27 EU members and hoped their leaders would support her. The declaration will also be signed by José Manuel Barroso, European Commission president, and Hans-Gert Pöttering, president of the European parliament.
So, far from becoming a new symbol of hope an co-operation, as she evidently hoped, Merkel’s Berlin Declaration looks set to be interpreted as an edict issued from on high without any consultation (from the European country with perhaps the least leeway to issue orders to anyone, after the last century), and counter-signed by the unelected head of the most powerful organisation in the union and a man who heads a parliament that still holds little real power.
And, indeed, this is what has happened.
So all the heads of Government from 27 countries have been shipped to Berlin to watch three people sign a worthless piece of paper, two of them German. This is being presented by Merkel's press team as a great triumph for Europe.
What counts as a cock up then?
Well, quite. However, it doesn't alter the fact that darling Angela decided that she was going to "sign the statement on behalf of all 27 EU members". What the fuck? In the name of all that's unholy, since when did we vote the fucking German sodding president to speak for us?
I'm really fucking sorry, but I must have missed that meeting.
(Coincidentally, I must also have missed the meeting at which we decided that the EU should speak for Britain over the Iranian situation too.
The EU has told Iran to free fifteen British sailors who were captured after allegedly straying into Iranian waters near the Iraqi city of Basra.
I would imagine that the Iranians are carefully drafting their reply: does anyone know what the Arabic for "piss off, you bunch of scat-munching, cowardly wankstains" is? We could have an exclusive here...)
What is entirely typical of the EU, apart from this rather pathetic damp squib, is Merkel's response. The head of one of the EU member states declares that he is not going to sign the Berlin Declaration, so Merkel decides that she'll just sign it anyway "on behalf of all 27 EU members" and then hope that everyone falls into line when presented with this fait accompli.
What a bunch of bastards.