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Who's running the EU?

Mark Mardell | 08:12 UK time, Wednesday, 25 March 2009

When the US president turns up for the EU summit in Prague whose hand will he shake? The Czech government, which holds the presidency of the European Council, has fallen. As I write it is uncertain what will happen next.

It seems it is now up to the profoundly Eurosceptic President Vaclav Klaus to appoint a new caretaker government. Parties opposed to the Lisbon Treaty are gleeful - they feel it is unlikely he will put anyone in place who would get the treaty through the senate.

Governments have fallen before during a presidency, so will it make any difference? It may make a difference to complex negotiations over subjects like the Working Time Directive if the ministers who chair the meeting change: it would be quite a job getting on top of the brief. Equally, if there was a big crisis involving the EU, it wouldn't be clear who was in charge. I expect President Sarkozy is standing by the phone awaiting the call.


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