A president of Europe who lived in Canada for 44 years?

You’ll be shocked to learn that the European Union is mired in a cumbersome process.

This time what they’re trying to do is to pick a stable long-term president for the Union, and a stable long-term foreign-minister type, now that the Lisbon Treaty seems about to be implemented. Until now the “presidency” of Europe has fallen to the head of government of whichever country gets the rotating six-month presidency. Which means, pre-Lisbon, that every 13 and a half years everyone gets to be figurehead for half a year. This new system should be an improvement. But first, of course, it’s a schmozzle. Tony Blair has enemies, nobody else is particularly exciting. Apparently some people are mentioning our old friend Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the former President of Latvia who spent much of her adult life in Montreal. Expect a TV ad campaign against her, on the premise that she’s just visiting and it’s all about her. The linked article also mentions François Fillon, the last sane man in French politics, as a possible dark-horse candidate. This would be a very bad idea, because Fillon could not possibly help Europe as much as his departure from Paris would hurt France. But don’t get me started.

AND-YOU-THOUGHT-OUR-DEMOCRACY-WAS-BROKEN UPDATE: Great analysis from Der Spiegel, whose sources can’t decide whether Sweden is to blame because it didn’t sufficiently pre-cook the results, or Poland, because they want the process to be at least minimally democratic.

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