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Meet the New Communist President of Europe

European leaders have gotten a bad rap over the past few years for their timid and inept handling of the largest crisis Europe has faced in a generation. Unfortunately, things are likely to get worse before they get better.

Europe has an immensely confusing and byzantine system of chairmen and secretaries, capped off by its rotating presidency, in which a different country assumes leadership of the body for a six month period before handing power to another state. Now one of these transfers is upon us. Next week, the reins of the EU will shift to Cyprus—one of the most minor of European states.

Nor is the country’s small size the only unique aspect of this presidency. President Dimitris Christofias, the future President of the EU, is a Communist, the self-named “red sheep” of Europe, who has unleashed vicious attacks on the EU in recent speeches. As the New York Times reports, many in Europe are now worried that the new president may drive the continent further apart:

While his antiausterity mantra resonates with many Europeans, others fret that Mr. Christofias, an ardent supporter of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and the only Communist leader in the 27-member bloc, could use his position as a bully pulpit, helping to unsettle an already divided union further. “Christofias has always had an ambivalent attitude toward the E.U.,” said Fiona Mullen, a leading analyst here. “He comes from a party that has often looked east instead of west.”

It is not just his stance against austerity that concerns European leaders. A confidential 2009 cable from the United States Embassy in Cyprus to Washington leaked by WikiLeaks noted that Mr. Christofias had praised Fidel Castro, welcomed a new Venezuelan Embassy in Nicosia, lauded Iran and vilified NATO. Such views could complicate delicate foreign policy negotiations, though senior Cypriot diplomats insist the country is determined to be an honest broker.

At a time when Europeans are in dire need of bold, confident leadership, their highest office will be in the hands of a Communist and friend of Putin who is leading a country of one million people with a crumbling economy. Via Meadia has been surprised by events before, but there is little here to give hope that the next six months will be productive ones for the European Presidency.

This is bad timing for Europe, but there is nothing new about that.


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  • John Barker

    Is Europe a comic opera? If so, what would be a good title?

  • Mrs. Davis

    Die Fledermaus

  • Government Drone

    “Technically Sovereign”

  • Markus Becker

    Cyprus will head the Council of the European Union for the next half year. That will not improve relations with Turkey but

    a)so what?
    b)that will be it.

    By the way, if any person deserves to be called President of Europe, it is Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission.

  • Jim.

    …and “Europe” continues to prove just how broken it is.

    Start over, guys. Get it right. It doesn’t need to be some unholy kludge driven by crisis after crisis… it’s not like the greatest empire in the world is going to reconquer you if you don’t hang together.

    Have a convention. Invite delegations. Require those delegations to stay in close consultation with the populations they represent.

    If nothing comes of it, leave it alone because that was what was meant to be.

    The EU in its current form resembles nothing so much as Esperanto… an artificial, useless, and unpopular work of ivory-tower hope.

    Take it back to the people, guys. See what would actually meet their needs. And if it turns out that they disagree fundamentally about what those needs are or ho to get there, let it go…

    Decentralization is a strength, not a weakness. There’s a reason Columbus is remembered today and Zheng He is all but forgotten, and it has more to do with their governments than the men themselves.

  • Eurydice

    I don’t know what Cypriot Communism is like, but if it’s anything the Greek version, Mr. Christofias will making those vicious attacks from the large veranda of his multi-million euro villa that overlooks his private marina filled with many, many yachts.

  • Steve W from Ford

    This just illustrates the dangers of the politically correct doctrine of “fairness” when applied in the real world.
    Yeah it is sure “nice” to let the powerless little countries have a turn at the top and when all is well the damage is likely minimal. But when the crap-ola hits the fan-ola Cyprus just ain’t the go-to guy! The true silliness of a doctrine of “fairness” now reveals itself for all to see.

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