The appointment of Belgian Christian Democrat Herman van Rompuy as the first president of the European Council is encouraging from the perspective of the smaller EU Member States. Ms Essayah welcomes the fact that the role of the EU institutions as well inter-Member State cooperation was emphasised.
”I personally respect the new president of the European Council for emphasising Europe’s Christian heritage eg with regard to Turkey’s EU candidacy. Mr Rompuy has significant expertise in economics as well as experience as a mediator and in uniting the people.
”The appointment of External Trade Commissioner Lady Catherine Ashton as the EU’s high representative suggests that equality was a significant factor in the appointments for the top EU jobs. It is a positive outcome that a representative of a Member State outside of the Euro and Schengen areas was appointed to the EU’s second most important position.
”However, many questions concerning EU’s external relations administration remain unanswered. Similarly, appointments to key positions in the administration are yet to be made. From the point of view of Finland, these appointments will be more significant in the long run than the recent high profile appointments. While EU politics is becoming increasingly centred on personal appointments, less attention is paid to important decisions. I myself voted against the European Parliament’s statement calling for the EU’s expanding external relations administration to be brought under the ambit of the Commission. Personally, I consider that external relations should remain in the realm of the Member States and, consequently, of the European Council,” says Ms Essayah.