Given the messy state of their own affairs, the prospect of Belgium’s EU presidency raised nervous eyebrows in Brussels before the summer break. Unable to form a government in their own country since April, how could the Belgians possibly run one that binds together 27 member states?
Nigel Farage, the euro-loathing UK Independence Party leader, delighted at this predicament on the floor of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. “You still can’t form a government in your own country, and yet you’re presidents of the European Union!” Mr Farage snorted. “Whichever way you look at it, the whole thing is a bit of a dog’s dinner, isn’t it?”
Well – Mr Farage notwithstanding – the emerging consensus is that the Belgians are proving rather effective. At least so far. Read more