Listen to the Episode
The Mechanisms and Function of the European Union Going Forward into the 21st Century or Quid Pro Euro? - This is a European Videos Production.
We're nearly at the end of 1995. A year for the history books! But what's next for the EU when we leave this decade, this century, and this thousandry? In this series, we’re going to find out. Today: Administration.
You might think that there are a lot of European institutions. That building is the European Commission just over the Rond-Point Schumann, or Schumann Roundabout, in Brussels. That one's the Parliament in Strasbourg. There's the Senate in Rome. There's the Space Senate, in Space. This imposing building in Cork is Scoundrelhouse, and up here, right at the top of Alps, are the familiar brick turrets of the Castle, guns pointed to Switzerland. What a big secretarial pool! The turrets are painted the colour of Europe: blellow.
Back in the Rond-Point Schumann, the European Commission is housed in a building called the Berlaymont, named for one of the Founding Fathers of the European Union: Jean Monnet. It’s not a new building. It’s certainly not a safe building.That’s asbestos! So is that. And that! And that. And that. And that. And that. It’s a very dangerous cantine.
The distinctive curved cross shape of the building belies its origins as a Gaulish place of worship. The legacy continues today. Here, on the roof of the Berlaymont, a ceremony is held every Monday to Friday at dawn. No need to introduce this man! Mr Jutila isn’t only the Commissioner for Agriculture and Mr Best Smile Finland 1982. He is also responsible for welcoming the sun. Welcome, Sun!
Here on the second floor of the Berlaymont, with an unrivaled view of the prettiest roundabout in Europe, Marine Dutoit is one of a large team of European Commission employees coming up with new institutions for the weekly institution pitch. But why? To answer that question, we need to go right back to the start. The European Union began in 1951 as a peace project called the European Coal and Steel Community. The engine of europe has for almost fifty years been more peace, more coal, and more steel. The more institutions there are, the more the people can enjoy more peace, more coal, and more steel.
So what’s planned, Marine? Don’t worry, you don’t have to answer that. I will. These blellowprints give a good idea of what the EDH, the European Department for Health, and the EDHu, the European Department for Hunting, will look like. One short and thin, the other shaped like a rifle. But which is which? Next door, painter Julie Van Laerken is finishing up her impression of the planned EHNPB, the European House for Nuclear Power and Becky. This is Becky, and this is her uranium. Here just down the corridor, sculptor Niko Georgakopoulou is building the European Department for Transport. It is both the height, and length, and shape of a bus. A marble bus.
Here in Lisbon, this crumbling old neighbourhood is being cleared away to make room on the first of January 2000 for the opening of the state-of-the-art European Office for Farm Animals Wearing Horn-Rimmed Glasses.
Chuckle. Looking very distinguished, Daisy. I'd vote for you!
But who governs the European Union? Who ultimately is responsible for bringing more peace, more coal, and more steel to its citizens. Do you? Do I? Is it him? It’s him.
“Him” is the man known across the European Union by his first name: Barracuda. Never seen without his sunglasses and always ready with a packet of sweets for the little ones, Barracuda’s portrait hangs in the entrance of every European institution, motorway service station, post office, railway station, and home. With his fantastic slicked back white hair, his pinstripe suits and his shiny shoes, Barracuda cuts quite the dash whether he is participating in a bilateral meeting in Naples, opening a school in Copenhagen, or singing karaoke wherever he damn well pleases.
Today, Barracuda is in Austria to review a steel mine. European steel miners are distinguished from private ones by their blellow hard hats. But Barracuda doesn’t need a blellow hard hat. Not with that hair.
Back in the Berlaymont, what does Barracuda think of Marine’s new institution idea? Barracuda is not a young man anymore and no longer sits on chairs the wrong way round with a Gauloise hanging from his lips. Now he stays stood, smoking a cigar. He is exactly 2 metres tall; it’s no wonder Marine is a looking a little nervous! So what’s the idea?
Marine has suggested setting up a European Office for Picture Frames. Where would she put it? Palermo! What does Barracuda think? He likes it. So be it! Another office in Sicily. Congratulations Sicilians, you get more peace, more coal, and more steel. And more picture frames!
With only five years left until the year 2000, it is comforting to know that the European Union is very well administered.
This has been a European Videos Production.