This morning, The Lobby was surprised to find itself sitting on Bus 71 next to Wilfried Martens, the President of the European Peoples Party, and we briefly chatted about the latest developments at this week’s EU Summit.
Exhausted but happy from last night’s Council marathon which saw José Manuel Barroso winning political support from EU leaders, the former Belgian Prime Minister compared the current situation with the controversial nomination of the Santer Commission in 1994. Back then and like now, the European Parliament expressed its dissatisfaction with the conditions of that appointment and only approved Santer by a narrow majority. Is this another example of history repeating itself?
Mr Martens is known for his calmness under pressure, no doubt stemming from his considerable political experience. Usually, not even the slow moving public transport in Brussels can make him lose his temper. Today however, even his patience was tested to the limit, and in the end enough was enough and he got off and walked (in so doing overtaking the bus…). Whoever the Commission President may be, they could do worse than start sorting out the dreadful Brussels traffic!