Don't call the EU president 'moroso'
The EU President Jose Manuel Barroso is a boundless optimist.
Most of our intersection yesterday was satisfactorily off the record. I say “satisfactorily” because, of course, you learn far more, and can eventually drip-feed what you learn subtly into succeeding perspectives as the months go by.
But what I did learn whilst I was at the EC’s headquarters here in London was that they fear that the next European elections will throw up many more politicians from the political extremes.
There is anyway a widespread belief, both here and in Europe, that the UKIP phenomenon (passionately anti-European) is all but dead. To quote one correspondent in Brussels, they have been “a complete shambles”.
The expectation here is that the BNP could take three or four of their seats, and the rest, if current trends continue, would largely go to the Tories.
Interestingly, I learnt that David Cameron has been to the commission in Brussels more times than any other European aspiring premier – this despite the fact that he is said to cut something of a euro-sceptical demeanour.
There is a sense, too, that Ireland will eventually vote FOR the Lisbon treaty because Irish sentiment currently believes that Ireland inside the euro has fared much better than poor old Iceland out of it.
According to the Europeans, the one word that seems to sum up the central requirement from the G20 summit on 2 April is “confidence”. So anything less than big commitments on how to resolve the present crisis will be seen as failure and will damage confidence.
We are busy constructing a confidence thermometer, even as I speak.