The Mystery of Red Oskar

Carl Remick cremick at
Tue Mar 16 13:59:30 PST 1999

> >I still seem to be the only one in the world who believes
> that Lafontaine
> >might have resigned in part because he wants Santer's job.
> What makes you think so?
> >But it is
> >interesting that Santer's job just suddenly came open.

It seems the new EC President -- whomever that may be -- will be needed sooner rather than later. Just in from Reuters (aficionados of irony, note the closing here):

European Commission President Under Pressure to Quit Immediately

London (Reuters) -- European Commission President Jacques Santer came under growing pressure Tuesday to quit immediately after the resignation of his 20-member executive because of a damning report into fraud and mismanagement.

"The president of the Commission should leave as soon as reasonably and practically possible and a new president should take his place," British Prime Minister Tony Blair told his country's parliament in a statement.

European Parliament President Jose Maria Gil-Robles also said the entire executive should be replaced immediately.

"They must leave now and not in nine months' time," Gil-Robles, a Christian Democrat, told a news conference following a meeting of all the assembly's political groups.

But German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said it was unlikely European Union leaders would be able to agree on a replacement lineup at next week's Berlin summit.

Blair called for "root and branch" reform in Europe and would press for "a real political heavyweight with proven political skills" to be appointed as the new Commission president, his spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for French President Jacques Chirac said he had discussed the resignation with Schroeder and he wanted reforms to create more responsible, efficient European institutions.

The Spanish government said the Commission should stay on in a caretaker capacity until its term expires in January 2000. Government spokesman Josep Pique said "it is in the interest of everyone ... that the current Commission continue on an acting basis for the maximum time possible."

Santer rejected the report as "distorted" and said he planned to carry on in his post until EU member state governments moved to replace him.

Schroeder told reporters after meeting Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene in Brussels the resignation was certain to play a part in the discussions in Berlin.

"But I doubt we will have got far enough to talk about individuals," he said.


EU member states were concerned ... about the possible impact of the [corruption] crisis on transatlantic trade issues.

"This is a major preoccupation...The legal advice the commissioners have had is that they can continue to do current business," one EU diplomat said.

And the irony of the situation was not lost on Russia, awaiting first deliveries of European Union food aid under close scrutiny for signs of corruption.

"We Russian people are a nation of goodwill. We don't laugh at other people's misfortunes," a spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Gennady Kulik told Reuters.


Carl Remick

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