Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Which European Commisioner is up a certain creek without a paddle?



Career politician, professional dullard, loved by women and envied by men, the EU Commission supremo for industry, Herr. Günter Verheugen, finds himself in a spot of difficulty. Rumours are swirling in Brussels. A scandal is brewing. It involves the exact nature of Verheugen’s “relationship” with Petra Erler, a close associate of Verheugen's since 1999. The excellent news magazine Spiegel notes, among other things, that This spring Erler was promoted to director of Verheugen's cabinet, a career move that comes with a raise from salary group A 12 (€9,045 a month) to A 14 (€11,579 a month). For more:

The European Commission is standing by Günter... for now.

8 comments:

Colin said...

It must be a pure coincidence that these reports are surfacing three weeks after Verheugen complained in an interview about the lust for power of EU bureaucrats and the economically harmful effects of their mountains of regulations.

Daniel Hannan also has an article in the Brusselsjournal about this interesting development. Among others, he wrote: "It's hard to avoid the suspicion that the two events are linked. One day, Günter Verheugen, the Commission Vice-President, attacks the cost of Euro-bureaucracy. The next, photographs appear of the Commissioner strolling hand in hand with a female aide while on a visit to Lithuania...It just seems odd that photographs taken two months previously should suddenly appear in the press at the very moment that the Commissioner is making himself awkward.

A Commissioner can get away with many things. He can be idle, incompetent or drunk. He can be a former Stalinist, or have been convicted of political corruption. But he cannot give voice to the belief, held almost universally outside Brussels, that the EU is overly meddlesome...

He offered figures to back his claim, and very scary figures they were. According to the Commissioner's findings, EU standardisation now costs businesses EUR 600 billion a year... It dwarfs the EU's EUR 110 billion budget. In fact, on the Commission's own statistics, it is nearly four times as much as the EUR 180 billion savings supposedly generated by the single market."

istanbultory said...

Perhaps. But the German SPD, the German government and the EU Commission Pres. all seem to be supporting Günter at the moment. Verheugen's relationship with the lady in question has been known for some time. It could be a carefully contrived assasination or we may be reading too much into the situation. I have no idea.

Colin said...

Istanbultory,

You have blogged previously about Mr. Erdogan trying to convert secular Turkey into an Islamic state.

The Wall Street Journal and the The Middle East Forum published a recent article "Mr. Erdogan's Turkey" by Michael Rubin supporting your view:

"The assault on the secular education system has been subtle but effective..Traditionally, students had three choices: enroll at religious academies (so-called Imam Hatips) and enter the clergy; learn a trade at vocational schools; or matriculate at secular high schools, attend university and pursue a career. Mr. Erdogan changed the system: By equating Imam Hatip degrees with high-school degrees, he enabled Islamist students to enter university and qualify for government jobs without ever mastering Western fundamentals...

At Mr. Erdogan's insistence and over the objections of many secularists, the AKP passed legislation to lower the mandatory retirement age of technocrats. This could mean replacement of nearly 4,000 out of 9,000 judges. Turks are suspicious that the AKP seeks to curtail judicial independence...

Mr. Erdogan has replaced nearly every member of the banking regulatory board with officials from the Islamic banking sector...

debt amassed under Mr. Erdogan's administration is equal to total debt accrued in Turkey between 1970 and 2000..

In the past year, the AKP anti-secular agenda has grown bolder. AKP-run municipalities now ban alcohol. Turkish Airlines recently surveyed employees about their attitudes toward the Quran. On July 11, Mr. Erdogan publicly vouched for the sincerity of Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi financier identified by both the U.N. and U.S. Treasury Department as an al Qaeda financier.

When Mr. Erdogan began his political career, he did not hide his agenda. In September 1994, while mayor of Istanbul, he promised, "We will turn all our schools into Imam Hatips." Two months later he said, "Thank God Almighty, I am a servant of the Shariah." In May 1996, he called for a ban on alcohol. In the months before his dismissal from the mayoralty, his cynicism was clear. "Democracy is like a streetcar," he quipped. "You ride it until you arrive at your destination and then you step off."


We are surely all glad that Turkey will soon be able - after its EU accession - to send a large number of Islamist technocrats to Brussels for joining the ranks of the EU bureaucrats and for regulating the EU populace in accordance with sharia.

The first steps in this direction are currently proposed by the EU, e.g. "A Commission funded report on alcohol in Europe suggests that alcohol products should carry warnings on the harmful effects of it." The next step will be to call for a ban on alcohol.

CityUnslicker said...

Good commentary pieces from you both here.


They only reinforce my belife theat we need to change hte nautre of our relationship with the EU and also not admit Turkey to the club.

istanbultory said...

ı obviously agree with Rubin. He visited Turkey earlier in 2006 and I had an opportunity to meet him. Rubin, a resident scholar for the American Enterprise Institute knows and understands the current sdituation in Turkey better than most.“The future of Turkey as a secular, Western-oriented state is at risk,” Rubin wrote in "The Wall Street Journal". I agree.He was right to draw attention to specific dangers represented by the religious Imam-Hatip schools, the headscarf issue, the flow of Saudi capital into the country and the arguments with the (staunchly secular)Turkish Council of Higher Education. Rubin said, “While democrats fight for change within the system, Islamists seek to alter the system itself.” That is the core of the issue. When the EU talks about encouraging the reformist movement in Turkey and encouraging the govt. to implement further sweeping reforms, they fail to understand the motivation driving the reforms. Rubin has seen through the current AKP government, the US and the EU have not.

No to AKP said...

The article of Michael Rubin is highly interesting and fully reflects my personal assessment of the situation in Turkey. I ask myself when the leaders of Europe will wake up and understand this threat.

Turkey must never become a member of the EU!

Interestingly enough Turkey's accession to the EU gained critical momentum while Guenter Verheugen was the Commissioner responsible for enlargement...

istanbultory said...

Yep, that seems to be the majority opinion in much of Europe. The great failure of the post Cold War EC/EU architecture was the failure to find a mutually acceptable formula that stopped short of offering full membership to Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and the western Balkans. Full membership should never have been on the table for the current batch of applicants.

Colin said...

"Interestingly enough Turkey's accession to the EU gained critical momentum while Guenter Verheugen was the Commissioner responsible for enlargement..."

Full membership should never have been on the table for the current batch of applicants.""


Schroeder and the peace-loving Saint Joschka Fischer, who pushed for the bombardement of Yugoslavia for humanitarian reasons, also pushed for Turkey's EU membership. Verheugen was Schroeder's technocrat.

Schroeder, a former lawyer, is now on the payroll of Gasprom, a state-owned Russian company. Fischer, a high-school drop-out and former taxi-driver, married a young and beautiful Iranian woman, his fourth or fifth wife. And Verheugen is now discovering, while having an extramarital relationship with his employee, that his medicine for the EU is actual poison for Europe and for himself.

It appears to be hard to deny that politicians are rent seekers as suggested by Public Choice Theory:

"Politics consists of vote trading, logrolling, rent seeking, and legislated looting. Politicians buy and sell favors, lobbyists act as middlemen, and the public gets fleeced."

Congratulations, Istanbultory, for having the pleasure to meet Michael Rubin. Could you tell us a bit more about him?