Richard North, 23/06/2004  

In eight days’ time the European Commission will cease to exist and give way to the newly selected one. Except that we still have no President-designate.

A new name has been thrown into the hat, another Irishman, Peter Sutherland, the former Director of the World Trade Organization and present Chairman of BP and Goldman Sachs International. He is also seriously rich, a fact that must be in his favour in the notoriously venal world of European politics.

Sir Peter Sutherland (as an Irishman he can have an honorary knighthood only) is a fervent European integrationist and says he hates with great fervour all those petty minded nationalists. Of course, many of us are not all that fond of all those petty minded Europeanists but that does not bother Sir Peter.

At present it is not clear how many states support Sutherland, who says he will not take job unless he has the full support of all 25. Will the French and Germans agree, bearing in mind their attitude to “non-core” member states? Ireland is in the euro but not part of Schengen.

Epolitix today has listed 13 candidates, all more or less in the running. However, as the name of the front runner, Guy Verhofstadt is not included, one can but wonder at its accuracy.

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