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Brussels diary: the French vs Ashton

All is not going according to plan for the new incumbents of the EU’s top jobs. But are the Tories coming round to Europe?

By Manneken Pis   March 2010

Poor old Herman van Rompuy, the first holder of the EU’s full-time presidential post. For his first six weeks in office, the former Belgian prime minister retained a Trappist vow of silence as he toured European capitals, preparing for a special one-day summit of EU leaders he had called. The strategy was to keep out of the limelight until he could use the meeting to exceed expectations and show himself to be the EU’s powerful new kid on the block.

The first half of this plan—staying low-key—certainly worked. Rarely in Brussels, Van Rompuy gave almost no interviews and met no…

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