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Jacques Santer to sit on the board of the ESM special purpose investment vehicle (SPIV)

I just watched the the Eurogroup press conference with Eurogroup president Juncker, Commissioner Rehn and EFSF chief Regling.

I didn’t expect anything substantive – those press conference rarely offer great insights – but than I heard Juncker talk about the future European Stability Mechanism (ESM) – the long-term versions of the EFSF bailout fund – and the fact that it is going to have a board that will direct the legal body underlying the ESM in the form of a so-called Special Purpose Investment Vehicle (SPIV).

And on this board – and there I could not believe it when I first heard it until tweets confirmed it – will sit a certain Jacques Santer, former Commission President whose Commission had to resign in 1999 after a failed discharge following fraud reports. Now I’m too young to remember the Santer Commission – didn’t start caring for any EU politics until 2004 – but let’s say the image that his name brings with it is not, well, perfect.

One journalist (I think from EUobserver) dared to ask at the end of the press conference whether the Eurogroup would not fear image problems over Santer’s appointment to the SPIV’s board. But while Juncker did not seem to be willing to answer substantively on this question (Santer is from Luxembourg as is Juncker), Commissioner Rehn apparently tried to make a bad joke which I missed because the stream broke down.

This Santer appointment sounds to my ears like the EU was saying:

Hey, we like to invest millions of Euros in EU communication for useless websites and outreach programs that reach out to nobody to portray the Union from its best sides, but we will not miss the occasion to ruin the picture by some stupid policy decision or stupid appointment.

Or as Bruno put it in a tweet: “#youcannotmakeitup

3 Responses to Jacques Santer to sit on the board of the ESM special purpose investment vehicle (SPIV)

  1. avatar T says:

    There are no image problems to Mr Santer’s appointment, he was a great PM and a far better President of the EC than Barroso. By the way, Santer was in no way involved in the Commission’s scandal, which was mainly Mrs Cresson responsability. Back in 1999, the President of the EC could unfortunately not fire one of his commissioners, in this case without the approval of national heads of state. It was Chirac who refused the right to Santer to fire Cresson.

  2. avatar Ronny Patz says:

    Dear T, thanks for defending what I suspect is a fellow countryman and political group affiliate of yours from the strength of your argument and your positive attitude towards him… 😉

    I think you may not disagree that the term “Santer Commission” stands for fraud and corruption. I think that is indeed an image problem. Putting him in this position is maybe not a very intelligent choice from a communications point of view. Beyond that, I have no idea whether he is (still) qualified to deal with the matters that are to be decided on this board, but since you seem to know him better, maybe you have also a strong opinion on that.

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