今、日本人が一番見たくない数字 ― 2009/11/20 07:56
日本の財政悪化 突出 １４年債務残高ＧＤＰ比２．５倍（画像も引用）
The State of Public Finances Cross-Country Fiscal Monitor: November 2009
Société Générale tells clients how to prepare for 'global collapse'
It is Japan we should be worrying about, not America
Japan Spirals into Bankruptcy?
ＥＵ初代大統領に俳句嗜むファンロンパイ・ベルギー首相、脚光浴びるビルダーバーグ ― 2009/11/20 08:45
Profile: Herman Van Rompuy, Belgium's Mr Fixit
Ian Traynor in Brussels
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 19 November 2009 22.38 GMT
Herman Van Rompuy, Belgium's centre-right prime minister, pulled off the coup of a long political career tonightby ascending to the post of president of the European Council, the new summiteering role established by the Lisbon treaty.
Known as Belgium's Mr Fixit for his low-key, patient work behind the scenes struggling to hold a fractious country together, Van Rompuy won the bad-tempered contest for the role by making friends and influencing people.
He has been a fixture in Roman Catholic and Christian Democratic politics for decades, but he shuns the limelight, appears ascetic and austere, and prefers to conduct his politics away from public gaze. Derided by British Europhobes as "Rumpypumpy", the obscure embodiment of an elitist EU mafia bent on demolishing the nation state, Van Rompuy owed his extraordinary triumph to strong support from Berlin and Paris and to the fact that he has not been around EU summits long enough to make any enemies.
A classicist and economist by education and an alumnus of Belgium's ancient Catholic University of Leuven, Van Rompuy is a committed European federalist, a position that suits the core and oldest EU member states, but raises many eyebrows among east Europeans, Scandinavians, and, of course, the British.
"Europe has no use for iconoclasts, the old continent is crying out for calm steadfastness," De Standaard, the leading Flemish newspaper, writes tomorrow of the unlikely victory for Van Rompuy. "He will soon be the first president of Europe. Never in his wildest dreams could the Christian Democrat have thought the best was yet to come."
Van Rompuy has been prime minister of Belgium for less than a year, summoned last December by King Albert II, to try to salvage a country plagued by tensions between Dutch-speaking Flanders to the north and Francophone Wallonia to the south.
Previously, the king had employed Van Rompuy as the key intermediary cajoling the two alienated halves of the country into shortlived coalitions.
In an EU that prizes consensus, compromise and operates as a supranational coalition of different countries, interests, and political forces, Van Rompuy's talents for persuasion and conciliation look to be his prime qualifications for the job of chairing EU summits and trying to harmonise the EU agenda. His appointment frustrated those eager to show greater European muscle abroad by giving the job to a household name like Tony Blair. The criticism is that in an international crisis, Van Rompuy does not have the stature to stand alongside Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, or Hu Jintao and that Europe will be relegated to the second division of international powers.
Van Rompuy enjoys a reputation for self-deprecating wit. The appearance of modesty is said to mask steely determination, sharp intelligence, and strongly held views which he seldom reveals. He does not suffer fools and can be withering in private about political opponents, say Belgian sources.
Van Rompuy writes haiku in his native Dutch, and speaks French, English, and German. He is said to take himself off to a monastic retreat once a month. He is credited with easing the tensions which were threatening to tear Belgium apart last year, although he has accomplished that simply by putting off some of the biggest decisions which are the sources of the rancour.
In his prime role as chair of EU summits, he is likely to be more the servant of European national leaders rather than their master, another factor in his success.
EU jobs race could be marathon
Gavin Hewitt | 12:20 UK time, Tuesday, 17 November 2009
All the signs are out there that the European Union cannot agree on who should fill the top jobs that are supposed to define its future. The first hints are being dropped that the Thursday night dinner, where the 27 heads of government are supposed to chose a president and foreign policy chief, might extend into Friday morning breakfast or even beyond.
As each day passes new names surface and flash briefly across the screens of those following this race.
Late last week the Swedes were briefing that if the dinner were held immediately the Belgian Prime Minister, Herman Van Rompuy, would get the job of President of the European Council. He was the low-key figurehead favoured by the French and the Germans. But in this game of horse-trading it is dangerous to get out in front.
Once Van Rompuy had become the established favourite attention turned to his record. There was his successful deal-making in Belgium which limited antagonisms between French and Dutch speakers. What was less clear was his vision for Europe.
Some find this whole secretive process disturbing. Names are tossed around without Europe's voters being able to hear from them or to assess what they stand for. It prompted Vaira Vike-Freiberga, a former Latvian president, to demand that the EU "stop working like the former Soviet Union... in darkness and behind closed doors".
Further research into Van Rompuy soon revealed that at a meeting of the shadowy but influential Bilderberg Group he suggested EU-wide taxes might be needed to support the expanding EU budget. His party seems to favour the gradual replacement of national symbols with EU symbols. The revelations at once make him a controversial choice with sections of the European electorate. It could even make it difficult for some countries to support him.
It is in this context that the candidacy of Tony Blair still flickers. Without an agreed candidate for president there could be a vote and the former Labour leader might still come through. Certainly the British government is still pushing his name.
There are signs that others, like the Poles, believe that potential candidates need to be heard from. The Swedes, who hold the rotating presidency, say it is impossible to open up the process because many potential office-holders hold power and to run for a European job would undermine their standing back home.
So, in this vacuum, other names are touted. Their merits are weighed less in terms of how they would perform but more as to how they would affect the balance between political groupings and small countries versus large countries.
Meanwhile from the sidelines are voices reminding Europe's leaders that the rest of the world is watching. This from a state department official in Washington: "It's up to post-Lisbon Europe to put its house in order in a way that would allow us to be effective partners. Europe's choices in the coming months are going to be very important."
As I said yesterday, Europe's leaders long for greater influence but fear any diminution of their own powers.
European Union gets medieval with ultra-secret elections
Van Rompuy shows his hand at Bilderberg Group dinner
▼Top candidate debates EU tax at elite dinner
Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy, a top candidate for the new European Union president job, laid out his views on future EU financing at a dinner of the secretive Bilderberg group last week.
The event took place at Val Duchesse, a former priory on the outskirts of Brussels, on Thursday (12 November), with guests including Belgian industrialist and Bilderberg chairman Etienne Davignon, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and luminaries from the worlds of international politics and business, according to Belgian broadsheet De Tijd.
Who speaks for Europe? Criticism of 'shambolic' process to fill key jobs
EU Presidency candidate Herman Van Rompuy calls for new taxes
Herman Van Rompuy, front-runner for presidency, wants EU-wide tax
Italian MP Denounces Bilderberg Influence During European Parliament Meeting
Premier steekt nek uit op Bilderberg-diner