De Boissieu's the bossby Manneken Pis / April 20, 2002 / Leave a comment
Published in April 2002 issue of Prospect Magazine
A Brussels legend
Pierre de Boissieu is a Brussels legend. To some he is the epitome of all that is worst about the Eurocracy-a highly intelligent, secretive, scheming, know-it-all French bureaucrat who has managed to make the transition from being his country’s ambassador to the EU, to being the deputy secretary-general (top man, basically) at the council of ministers. At least he is just as hard on his own team as everyone else’s. As France’s ambassador he was famous for his ill-disguised contempt for some of the pathetic politicians sent from Paris.
When Europe’s leaders met a few years ago to decide who should get the plum job at the Council, 13 of the 15 leaders wanted to give it to a Danish candidate-but somehow De Boissieu prevailed. “I’m still wondering how that happened,” says a senior Brit in Brussels. (Clue: the two countries that wanted De B were Germany and France.) From his lofty perch at the council, he is now in a perfect position to shape the agenda of the EU-but in a much less visible way than his counterparts at the commission.