Barroso will make a 'State of the EUnion' address on Tuesday, in an apparent bid to (1) trying live out the fantasy that the EUnion is a global big boy, and (2) one-up his closest rival van Rompuy. And if you are wondering 'How did I miss this important news?' don't worry too much. I hadn't heard of this momentous occasion until yesterday either. For such a high point in the EUnions calendar publicity on the event is rather understated.
Even within EUrocrat circles, the expectations are that many a MEP will want to give this event a miss as well. Or that is what you'd gather from the unexpectedly brilliant move by EP president Buzek to fine MEPs who are skipping Barroso's historic oration. In an email to all MEPs, Buzek writes:
With a view to ensuring the highest possible attendance at the debate on the State of the Union, the Conference of Presidents decided at its meeting on Thursday 2 September 2010 to introduce specific checks on Members’ presence in the Chamber using the electronic system at three different moments during the debate.Do I sense a little vain insecurity on the part of the EUnion presidents there? Anyway, I am trying hard not to laugh. If the EUnion has to resort to these kind of measures to prop up El Presidente's legitimacy, I think it is safe to say that the EUnion has had it's day and is slowly rotting into oblivion.
The President will inform the Bureau of this decision and ask it, as the body responsible for such matters, to fix the appropriate penalty for those Members who are not present for at least two of the three checks.