Van Rompuy received more attention than Ashton

The Council President received media attention with regard to Croatia’s accession negotiations

The media describes Her­man Van Rompuy as a dis­crete and skilled com­pro­mise devel­op­er. In his own words, he “would per­form his duties dis­crete­ly, would search for con­sen­sus and would respect the speci­fici­ty of each mem­ber state.”11Her­man Van Rompuy: I will remain open for dia­logue, Novi list, 21 Novem­ber 2009; Bruno Lopandić: New rules for the future, Vjes­nik, 14 Jan­u­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://www.vjesnik.hr/html/2010/01/14/ClanakTx.asp?r=tem&c=5 (last access: 16 May 2010). Van­ja Figen­wald, a jour­nal­ist at Lid­er mag­a­zine, com­ment­ed that only unin­formed per­sons can won­der why the duties of the Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Coun­cil are vague­ly defined when every­body knows that the EU excels in pre­cise def­i­n­i­tions. The rea­son is that the Euro­pean Coun­cil is and will remain the only true source of pow­er.22Van­ja Figen­wald: Euro­pean Coun­cil dic­tates free­dom of the first EU Pres­i­dent, 26 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.liderpress.hr/Default.aspx?sid=90826 (last access: 20 May 2010). The March 2010 meet­ing of the new Croa­t­ian Pres­i­dent Ivo Josipović and the new Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Coun­cil in Brus­sels was wide­ly cov­ered. Her­man Van Rompuy repeat­ed the offi­cial EU posi­tion that Croa­t­ia can com­plete nego­ti­a­tions this year if it meets all con­di­tions.33Her­man Van Rompuy: Croa­t­ia can com­plete nego­ti­a­tions with the EU by the end of this year (in Croa­t­ian), SEE­biz, 5 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.seebiz.eu/hr/politika/herman-van-rompuy-hrvatska-moze-zavrsiti-pregovore-ove-godine,70027.html (last access: 15 May 2010). Ivo Josipović replied that the gov­ern­ment, the par­lia­ment, and he as Pres­i­dent were deter­mined to pre­pare Croa­t­ia for EU mem­ber­ship.44Nataša Božić: Europe par­tic­u­lar­ly wor­ried by events in Bosnia and Herze­gov­ina, ‘Pres­i­dent Ivo Josipović met with the lead­ers of the EU who com­mend­ed the progress our coun­try made towards the EU’, Novi list, 6 March 2010. Her­man Van Rompuy vis­it­ed Croa­t­ia on 5 July 2010 as the first stop on his first trip to the West­ern Balka­ns. “This vis­it is a way to demon­strate to Croa­t­ia and the region my per­son­al com­mit­ment to the inte­gra­tion of the region into the EU”, said the Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Coun­cil.55Augustin Palokaj: Van Rompuy: We are ready to accept you as the next EU mem­ber, Jutarn­ji list online, avail­able at: http://www.jutarnji.hr/van-rompuy–spremni-smo-vas-prihvatiti-kao-slijedecu-clanicu-eu/844149/ (last access: 5 July 2010).

High Representative will get more attention when she engages in regional issues

The media describes Cather­ine Ash­ton as a lady not well known even in the Unit­ed King­dom, the coun­try which was giv­en the post of the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Union for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy to part­ly relax its obstruc­tion­ist posi­tion vis-à-vis the Euro­pean Exter­nal Action Ser­vice (EEAS). Yet, Cather­ine Ash­ton, the for­mer EU Com­mis­sion­er for Trade, may prove to be exact­ly the right can­di­date for this post. Not con­tro­ver­sial, not high­ly vis­i­ble, and with­out a com­pli­cat­ed pro­fes­sion­al his­to­ry, she might suc­ceed (with the help of ‘qui­et diplo­ma­cy’66Kseni­ja Jurišić, who teach­es diplo­ma­cy at the Fac­ul­ty of Polit­i­cal Sci­ence in Zagreb, defines ‘qui­et diplo­ma­cy’ as a tool for strength­en­ing dia­logue and coop­er­a­tion among par­ties who may express dif­fer­ent views on cer­tain issues. Kseni­ja Jurišić: Qui­et diplo­ma­cy – diplo­ma­cy with­out pub­lic noise, Poli­tičke anal­ize, Vol 1, No 1, Feb­ru­ary 2010, p. 46.) in mak­ing progress on many fronts. “Judge me by results”, she said after the appoint­ment.77Her­man Van Rompuy: I will remain open for dia­logue, Novi list, 21 Novem­ber 2009. The fact that on her trip to the West­ern Balkan region in Feb­ru­ary 2010 Cather­ine Ash­ton did not vis­it Croa­t­ia (she trav­elled to Bosnia and Herze­gov­ina and Ser­bia) also explains her lim­it­ed media cov­er­age.88The Min­istry of For­eign Affairs and Euro­pean Inte­gra­tion pub­lished a brief report on Cather­ine Ashton’s vis­it to the region, avail­able at: http://www.mvpei.hr/ei/default.asp?ru=1&gl=201002220000007&sid=&jezik=1 (last access: 16 May 2010). As the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive gets more engaged in the region of South­east Europe, which she has put high on her list of pri­or­i­ties, more inten­sive media cov­er­age will fol­low.

How efficient the new diplomatic service will be is yet to be seen

For the first time in his­to­ry, the EU will have a sin­gle diplo­mat­ic ser­vice, pub­lished Novi list.99Marko Led­er­er: EU gets sin­gle diplo­mat­ic ser­vice, Novi list, 28 April 2010; Marko Led­er­er on inter­net por­tal H‑alter argues that new mech­a­nisms have the poten­tial to increase effi­cien­cy and enlarge democ­ra­cy in the EU. Catharine Ash­ton, in his view, will have polit­i­cal space and a whole army of about 8,000 diplo­mats to make her work recog­nis­able in the EU and abroad. Marko Led­er­er: New treaty – new Europe, H‑alter, 1 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.h‑alter.org/vijesti/europa-regija/novi-ugovor-nova-europa (last access: 16 May 2010). The aim of the EEAS, with offices in 136 coun­tries, is to strength­en the EU’s glob­al posi­tion. How­ev­er, the EU has so far man­aged to agree on only two for­eign affairs issues – the Mid­dle East peace process and the region­al approach to the West­ern Balka­ns. If the EU is to demon­strate its strength through diplo­ma­cy, it has to make its diplo­mat­ic ser­vice oper­a­ble and effi­cient. It needs to address con­cerns of small coun­tries that fear they may end up on the mar­gins of the deci­sion-mak­ing process with­in the EEAS and in per­son­nel allo­ca­tion, as well as the con­cerns of larg­er states such as the UK, which insists that the diplo­mat­ic ser­vice can­not include con­sular duties.1010Bruno Lopandić: Euro­pean diplo­ma­cy in ser­vice of clear­er for­eign pol­i­cy, Vjes­nik, 29 April 2010, avail­able at: http://193.58.252.6/html/2010/04/29/Clanak.asp?r=tem&c=2 (last access: 16 May 2010).

ECI has the potential to open a debate in the future

Infor­ma­tion on the Euro­pean Cit­i­zens’ Ini­tia­tive (ECI) was pub­lished on the web­site of the Croa­t­ian par­lia­ment, includ­ing a brief expla­na­tion on how the ECI could be imple­ment­ed.1111EU cit­i­zens will be able to pro­pose laws by peti­tion, 6 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.sabor.hr/Default.aspx?art=32967 (last access: 16 May 2010). No debate on the mer­it and effect this direct democ­ra­cy instru­ment may have on the nature of the Union itself is to be found at this point in time, but if it devel­ops into a tan­gi­ble tool in the hands of Euro­pean cit­i­zens, assess­ments will abound every­where, Croa­t­ia includ­ed.

    Footnotes

  • 1Her­man Van Rompuy: I will remain open for dia­logue, Novi list, 21 Novem­ber 2009; Bruno Lopandić: New rules for the future, Vjes­nik, 14 Jan­u­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://www.vjesnik.hr/html/2010/01/14/ClanakTx.asp?r=tem&c=5 (last access: 16 May 2010).
  • 2Van­ja Figen­wald: Euro­pean Coun­cil dic­tates free­dom of the first EU Pres­i­dent, 26 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.liderpress.hr/Default.aspx?sid=90826 (last access: 20 May 2010).
  • 3Her­man Van Rompuy: Croa­t­ia can com­plete nego­ti­a­tions with the EU by the end of this year (in Croa­t­ian), SEE­biz, 5 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.seebiz.eu/hr/politika/herman-van-rompuy-hrvatska-moze-zavrsiti-pregovore-ove-godine,70027.html (last access: 15 May 2010).
  • 4Nataša Božić: Europe par­tic­u­lar­ly wor­ried by events in Bosnia and Herze­gov­ina, ‘Pres­i­dent Ivo Josipović met with the lead­ers of the EU who com­mend­ed the progress our coun­try made towards the EU’, Novi list, 6 March 2010.
  • 5Augustin Palokaj: Van Rompuy: We are ready to accept you as the next EU mem­ber, Jutarn­ji list online, avail­able at: http://www.jutarnji.hr/van-rompuy–spremni-smo-vas-prihvatiti-kao-slijedecu-clanicu-eu/844149/ (last access: 5 July 2010).
  • 6Kseni­ja Jurišić, who teach­es diplo­ma­cy at the Fac­ul­ty of Polit­i­cal Sci­ence in Zagreb, defines ‘qui­et diplo­ma­cy’ as a tool for strength­en­ing dia­logue and coop­er­a­tion among par­ties who may express dif­fer­ent views on cer­tain issues. Kseni­ja Jurišić: Qui­et diplo­ma­cy – diplo­ma­cy with­out pub­lic noise, Poli­tičke anal­ize, Vol 1, No 1, Feb­ru­ary 2010, p. 46.
  • 7Her­man Van Rompuy: I will remain open for dia­logue, Novi list, 21 Novem­ber 2009.
  • 8The Min­istry of For­eign Affairs and Euro­pean Inte­gra­tion pub­lished a brief report on Cather­ine Ashton’s vis­it to the region, avail­able at: http://www.mvpei.hr/ei/default.asp?ru=1&gl=201002220000007&sid=&jezik=1 (last access: 16 May 2010).
  • 9Marko Led­er­er: EU gets sin­gle diplo­mat­ic ser­vice, Novi list, 28 April 2010; Marko Led­er­er on inter­net por­tal H‑alter argues that new mech­a­nisms have the poten­tial to increase effi­cien­cy and enlarge democ­ra­cy in the EU. Catharine Ash­ton, in his view, will have polit­i­cal space and a whole army of about 8,000 diplo­mats to make her work recog­nis­able in the EU and abroad. Marko Led­er­er: New treaty – new Europe, H‑alter, 1 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.h‑alter.org/vijesti/europa-regija/novi-ugovor-nova-europa (last access: 16 May 2010).
  • 10Bruno Lopandić: Euro­pean diplo­ma­cy in ser­vice of clear­er for­eign pol­i­cy, Vjes­nik, 29 April 2010, avail­able at: http://193.58.252.6/html/2010/04/29/Clanak.asp?r=tem&c=2 (last access: 16 May 2010).
  • 11EU cit­i­zens will be able to pro­pose laws by peti­tion, 6 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.sabor.hr/Default.aspx?art=32967 (last access: 16 May 2010).

The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained there­in.