A lovely piece of self-fulfilling reporting yesterday on RAI One’s evening news. They were talking about the appointments made by the EU for president and foreign minister. After telling us that neither Tony Blair nor the Italian candidate for foreign minister, Massimo D’Alema, had been selected (for which relief, much thanks), they showed a brief clip of Cathy Ashton going about her business in a smiling and competent manner, followed by a photograph of the new EU president, Herman Van Rompuy. Not much is known about him, they said. You’d have thought this was the cue to tell us a little more about him, other than that he’s Belgian, but you’d have been wrong. They had other, more important fish to fry than sole à l’Ostendaise (a Belgian speciality, if you were wondering).
To slightly redress the balance, here’s a photograph of them both. Van Rompuy is the one in the coordinated blue shirt and tie (a Top Man deal) in the front row, staring ahead and obviously concentrating on raising his European profile, while the great and good of the continent think about their own affairs all round him. Berlusconi doesn’t appear to be present, although judging from the ‘Not now, Silvio’ look on Ashton’s face and Sarkozy’s widely spread hands I suspect he’s behaving badly just off-camera.