How do European leaders rate? The end of year report
by our secret columnist in Brussels
Wouldn't it be great if our European Union and national political leaders were given end of year reports, like school children? Well, yes it would and here they are. Our resident satirist Schadenfreude rates the likes of Angela Merkel, David Cameron, Herman Van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton. Enjoy
Angela Merkel, our head girl, has had a difficult term. She lost her best friend in the French class. We know that there have been troubles at home, which have pre-occupied her. But she has not been caught up in the team spirit that we advertise and she is parsimonious with her pocket money - refusing to contribute to the charities we support.
David Cameron is the perpetual new boy. He came from his previous school with lofty ideas and is unable to comply with our ways. He does not take part in our group activities and is, unfortunately, unduly influenced by a negative clique in the lower school. His European mentor Nick Clegg has not given him the guidance we expected of him.
Silvio Berlusconi was suspended for misbehaviour but has applied for a new place, another chance. He has not acknowledged his misdeeds and his return to favour depends upon his next entrance examination. François Hollande has been with us for only a few weeks and has yet to show his mettle. In his admission interview, he came up with what he thought were clever ideas and it will take time for him to settle down to practicalities.
Mario Monti is one of our hardest workers. Unfortunately his examination results show that he has a long way to go to reach the pass marks. His family could help him better. Herman Van Rompuy, our Belgian exchange scholar, is quiet by nature and has yet to find his feet in our community. He seems to be overshadowed by his classmates. His scholarship has still a few years to run and we may expect more of him. Catherine Ashton has made a promising start on subjects, which were new to her. It will take her time to show her promise and meanwhile she must work on her French.
EU and US must avoid 'too many red lines' in FTA
Within five years the EU-US free trade deal could increase American and European exports by more than $150bn, making our economies $180bn bigger and generating an additional 500,000 high-paying jobs, says John Cooke