Finnegan's Take

EPP leaders are doing their bit to help elect Fine Gael

Last week, I moaned a bit about European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso treating Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny to a photo opportunity in Brussels. I wondered if it was a bit paranoid to think that Barroso was heping his EPP buddy out by making him look like a statesmen just a couple of weeks before Ireland goes to the polls.

Then this happened. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will welcome Kenny to chat about the economy. Merkel too is a member of the EPP.

This kind of meddling in an election is unbecoming of Merkel (and, for Barroso, against the Treaty). Kenny is the Irish opposition leader. He’ll probably lead the next government but right now he leads the second largest party.

Don’t get me wrong. I personally want the incubments out. Kenny has yet to reveal himself as anything other than an honest individual, albeit lacking in charisma and sometimes short on detail in articulating his policies. He might turn out to be a great leader, but that’s irrelevant.

It no longer seems paranoid to suggest that the EPP is conspiring to ensure that its Irish wing, Fine Gael, prevails on February 25. Paranoid would be to suggest that the European establishment is working to get Kenny elected because they think he will rock the boat less than some of the other options available to the electorate. They fear him less than some of the more radical parties and candidates who want to play hard ball with the European banks and investment funds that lent to Irish banks.

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