In the week that Germany’s Constitutional Court gave its verdict on the EU bailout, Herman Van Rompuy’s speech at the London School of Economics (LSE) yesterday was well-timed.
Well-timed and well-executed. This was a speech that laid out the views of the President of the European Council to an appreciative audience of economists and political scientists.
His introduction was a classic case of setting the scene, the context and his own expertise in the field.
When I studied economics myself, more than forty years ago, I was much taken by Ralf Dahrendorf–who later was a famous LSE director and played so many roles in British, German and European society.
Ah yes, Ralf Dahrendorf. And his speech continued in such a rich vein, exploring the economic problems since the Lehman Brothers bank collapse of 2008, sovereign debt and indebtedness in general. Much of this was pretty complex to a layman. But he had the right audience at the LSE.
Clearly his speech also focused on the future of the Eurozone, the Euro itself and the EU. Without tub-thumping he re-asserted his confidence in their respective futures:
Seen in the light of history, the European Union is too precious an achievement to be put in jeopardy! I say this in a calm and determined way: this generation in politics will do, what must be done.
He’s not English, yet the language in his speech was choice and vivid. His LSE audience was treated to:
The political and economic costs of going back are mind-boggling.
Most urgent is to draw the lessons from the recent crisis–from the global roller-coaster which started 4 years ago, and reached a decisive turn in Europe in early 2010 when the Greek problem
exploded upon the stage.
Here was a marvelous metaphor to conjure up the economic highs and lows of the past four years…except that it’s been mainly a descent since 2007.
And was there some forethought in the word link of the “Greek problem” and “the stage”? I think so. But the speaker was too polite to mention either Greek tragedies, Greek choruses, siren voices or Herculean efforts.
Enough. This was a worthy speech from a speaker who’s often overlooked in the drama that is Eurozone realpolitik.
The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK. Andrew Ivey on Google+
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