politjobs.eu job alert – Political summer in Brussels: no foes needed with friends like these

With the biggest political decisions taken, Brussels is taking a deep breath whilst the music plays elsewhere: Commissioner-elect Ursula von der Leyen is on the road charming the member states with a so far fruitless appeal to ensure gender balance in the incoming Commission. For some reason, most countries cannot even think of a potentially talented female candidate, so the current count is 10 male, 6 female candidates – Western Europe leans on the East for the women.

Meanwhile, now Ex-Commission Secretary General Martin Selmayr spread the news: he will become head of the EU delegation to Vienna, of all places. Whilst Vienna is a beautiful city, the job seems a bit less challenging than his former post, to say the least. Many wonder which next top position he has in mind to need such a cooling-off phase. To be watched.

Also to be watched is Britain again: Boris Johnson really became Prime Minister, as unbelievable as it seems. For the record, this guy managed as Foreign Secretary, amongst many other missteps to sometimes more and sometimes less global amusement, to make life even worse than better for a British-Iranian academic detained in Iran by disclosing that she had been teaching journalism rather than visiting family. He is now working hard on at least rhetoric turning the tables on the EU: if the EU does not renegotiate and especially get rid of the detested backstop with regards to Ireland, it is the EU’s fault if the UK leaves without a deal.

Which does not prevent him from leaning on the EU when it could be helpful: whilst the US in quite clear words told the UK to take care of their ships themselves, the British are now calling on the EU to create an alliance that protects ships in the Persian Gulf (and gets them back their tanker that is detained by the Iranians in the Strait of Hormuz). The rest of Europe is still wondering how to keep out of the mess: Germany (via their vice chancellor and finance minister rather than the newly appointed defence minister) has just declined helping out the Americans.

All this deserves not only one deep breath but many, and Brussels could actually take in some fresh air for a few days in July for once: the famous Tour de France had its much-celebrated Great Departure in Brussels this year, honouring Eddy Merckx who had his first Tour de France victory 50 years ago. A welcome difference to the usual Brussels agenda and leading into a hopefully somewhat calm summer break – which we will also take. We hope you had a good look at climate change around your holiday destinations and will be back in September to look at future discussions on this very topic and all the others. Until then, have a look at our jobs and as usual more on politjobs.eu!

Irina Michalowitz

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1. August 2019