What is the most sought-after invitation in Brussels these days? An invite to the monthly meetings of eurozone finance ministers, apparently. That closed-door gathering has been the nerve centre of European Union efforts to solve a debt crisis that has shaken the single currency for more than a year.
One week ago, as Poland was launching its first EU presidency, Jacek Rostowski, the country’s finance minister, sounded desperate to gain entrance to the inner-sanctum. The problem for Rostowski, of course, is that he fails the most basic criteria for eurogroup membership: His country has not yet adopted the euro. Like a bouncer stationed outside a Manhattan nightclub, France has been particularly adamant about guarding the eurogroup’s exclusivity.
The ruffle over the guest list is another reminder of the way that protocol and procedure remain paramount in the 27-member bloc – even in the face of disaster. It was on display in May when a secret meeting convened in Luxembourg to discuss the Greece crisis sparked envy and resentment among member states that were not invited. Read more