20 May 2008

Farewell Jacques - Welcome the new guy (Italian)

So its a good night from Jacques Barrot. Jacques Barrot is to be complimented on his performance in the job. Best of luck in the new position M. Barrot. He is moving onto bigger and better things. And I have refrained from commenting until now - this is just too good an opportunity to pass up.

So formally, the situation is EU Transport Commissioner, Frenchman Jacques Barrot, is to relinquish his post and formally take on the position he has been temporarily holding, as Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security. This is an upgrade as he is now a full commissioner. This results from the resignation of former Justice Commissioner, Franco Frattini, to become Foreign Minister in the new Berlusconi government in Italy. As a consequence, the Italian Government will now appoint a replacement Transport Commissioner, reportedly likely to be Antonio Tajani, a strong Berlusconi supporter and currently a European Parliamentarian.

OK - this is part of the convoluted EU politics. So let's see if I can get this straight without bursting a gut and rolling on the floor laughing.

One of the first tasks of Sr Tajani will be to tackle the issue of illegal state aid to airlines. The ongoing investigation was sparked to urgency by the recent decision by the outgoing Italian Government of Prodi to grant 300 million Euros in continuing state aid to Alitalia.

So the chap who gets to adjudicate and if necessary prosecute the Commission's case against Italy and Alitalia is.... (drum roll please)... an Italian who is best buddy with Berlusconi.

OK - I knew you couldn't keep a straight face either. Even if you are part Italian.

Cheers - I am off for some Grappa.

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