On Friday, I received a Christmas present a little earlier than expected – I spent 45 minutes at the press center of the European Commission with Vladimir Putin. Perhaps this is not what you would like to receive for Christmas, but I was very pleased.
This here is the gift of the Magi, I literally sat four rows from the Russian president and admired the way he behaves with Herman Van Rompuy (Hermann Van Rompuy) and José Manuel Barroso (Jos Manuel Barroso).
How did he behave? Like a shark, swim laps in the pool today, I did not eat it, but just in case, remember, who is the strongest. I mean physical strength, muscles, and not just economic – it all raw materials – oil, natural gas. With this, Putin also fine, and we are in need. But on Friday, he used primarily muscles to impress.
Imagine – killed by people press room like a small house with a low ceiling, a podium with three chairs in a row and another to the side – for local “majordomo” which opens and closes the press conference. Rows in the hall filled with reporters and operators awaiting the press conference, Brussels end of the first visit of Mr. Putin since his re-election in May. And here they come – Mr Barroso, President of the Commission, Mr Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and Mr. Putin, President of the Russian Federation. Or say otherwise: entered the hall Portuguese politician, like a fattened crooner is a retired Belgian Prime, thin as a stick and beefy ex-KGB thug with a black belt in judo and karate – the president of the largest country in the world.
Whenever I see how this trio takes place in the pulpit, I realized that this time will not be boring – no wonder I once spent a very merry afternoon in South Africa, watching a shark in the pool, you never know what she will do next time. Exactly the same thing I was thinking about Mr. Putin was worth, Mr. Van Rompuy to start my presentation, opens a press conference. Belgian muttered a piece of paper all the platitudes that we hear every time he comes to the microphone: “The strategic relationship … global challenges … partnership … modernization … economic development. “
To the left of Mr. Van Rompuy was his opponent on the status of the EU, Mr Barroso, busily trying to find in the papers, which lay on its Plexiglas chairs, and the one that did them some notes. And to the right of Mr. Van Rompuy was Mr. Putin. He held his head high, his feet were placed shoulder-width apart (as they had wide), and his eyes skimmed over the series. At this time, both the Eurocrats looked at his notes, keeping your knees and feet together, like the boys of the monastery school.
Mr. Van Rompuy mumbled. Mr. Putin inspected the room. On his face was an expression of polite boredom. He slightly turned from his muscular neck. Under his jacket played deltoid and pectoral muscles. President endured weight from foot to foot like a boxer before you get to the center of the ring. Mr Van Rompuy, all diamonds, Mr Barroso went on reading. Mr Putin has remained calm and obviously felt quite comfortable under the eyes of reporters.
At one point, Russian brushed imaginary dust from the pulpit. Then he raised his eyes and began to admire the ceiling. Started to read his speech, Mr Barroso. Mr. Putin has behaved the same: with a sad and haughty, he rolled the handle up and down the chair, then back to flex its muscles. Finally, it was his turn.
After saying a few words on a piece of paper, Mr. Putin has turned from her and spoke without cribs. His speech, however, was smooth. It was strange to hear his performance in the women’s translation from Russian, as the words of President oozes testosterone: Mr Putin said European energy legislation to create a single market, “uncivilized”.
“Of course, the EU has the right to make any decisions, but – as I have already said – we confuse the fact that these solutions have a retroactive effect,” – he said. He was “confused” because the legislation does not allow Gazprom to control the distribution network. Do not forget about the disputes over access to pipelines and oil and gas prices.
It was the turn of journalists. They asked about Syria, about the possible abolition of visas between Russia and the European Union and about whether Russia will save the economy of Cyprus. Replying to a question, Mr Barroso, Putin returned to the criticisms of the EU’s gas policy. His statement came a long and pompous and more like a lecture on the European gas policy – believe me, Mr Barroso is not used to being the guests called it a policy of “uncivilized.”
He refuted the words of Mr. Putin said that the EU “respects all international treaties, and the principles of law.” Then he made it clear that he has finished, and the officer, who was a press conference, announced that this was the last question, thanked the journalists and said that the press conference is over. Only it was not over. Shark rushed forward.
Journalists began to rise from their seats, and Mr Van Rompuy and Mr Barroso began to move away from the pulpit, but Mr. Putin did not move – just looked straight at us and said, “Wait a minute.” Journalists sat down again, pricked ears – Come on, what is it?
Two main Eurocrats looked puzzled.
Mr. Putin leaned on the chair and said to reporters with ease and confidence view: “My long-term friend of Mr Barroso, emotionally and long explained the position because he feels that is wrong, wrong … Open the 34th article of our basic agreement with the EU, yes, the 34th article of our framework agreement with the European Union. ” He then stressed that linking gas prices to oil was invented not by Russia, and the Netherlands, and added that in part due to his services, trade between Russia and the EU reached 400 billion dollars.
This was followed by a few more pins to the European policy and then the president concluded, “Thank you very much.” And then – and only then – press conference finally ended.
In my view, Mr. Putin did not have to thank the journalists. This we had to thank him for the blood spilled in water. He deserved applause. Just last week, a well known European international journalist complained to me: “What we’re doing is not journalism, it’s stenography.” And usually, it’s true. However, thanks to Mr. Putin, we saw at the press conference real and not staged dispute. It was a confrontation between a man who had no respect for the “European project”, and two members elected by no one of the elite, which usually slide over to Brussels, surrounded by a common respect as cardinals at the Vatican.
It was the perfect Christmas gift to me personally. To assess how beneficial it was such an impact, and how it is valuable for anyone who meets Christmas in this city, as I have to do, you need to understand where it all happened. If you have fun in any way, do not look for him in the European quarter of Brussels. It’s not even sad, lacking windows halls press center, not lull Monotonicity briefing the European Commission, not in a brutal orthodoxy “project.”
Thing – in the same place, in these concrete canyons of streets stretching from the building on the Luxembourg European Parliament Square to the buildings of the Commission and the Council on an area of Robert Schumann and to the headquarters of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs. It is located on the park, which was laid out on the money, broken in the 19th century by King Leopold II of Belgium and Congo terrible and hangman’s methods.
This place can turn to stone any heart, so here is so valuable every glimmer of light. Of course, it is strange that this Christmas in such a bright spot for me was a former KGB agent. However, it turned out that way: front of the hall was a real gift of the Magi and flexing chest muscles