Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Eminences Grises: Welle - Begg - Laitenberger - Juncker

Klaus Welle - Iain Begg - Johannes Laitenberger - Jean-Claude Juncker

In the popular imagination, Brussels is stuffed full of grey and faceless bureaucrats. Wrong. In reality the town has remarkably few. And that is precisely its problem. Nowhere else on the planet is there such a concentration of flamboyant, over-enthusiastic officials. If only they were grey and faceless, the EU might be a little less hyperactive. One such is Klaus Welle, head of the European Parliament's secretariat. He cut his teeth running election campaigns for the German Christian Democrats and runs the secretariat in the same methodically divisive spirit. He probably won't be winning any popularity polls, but then he doesn't have to. Laitenberger, as President Barroso's chief aid, is a German with a Portuguese background, a brain in a suit. As for Begg, he is an academic rather than a bureaucrat, but the Brit embodies much the same spirit and works on the EU's gold, in a spirit of greyness. Last up is the oblique Juncker. Juncker is the man who presides over the Eurogroup, the political muscle behind the Euro currency. He's from Luxembourg and he likes a drink.

With apologies to: Freddie Mercury's moustache; My Preciouses; perpetual desktop motion; Bender