Uneasy lies the head of Enda, King of Europe, as welfare wars rumble on

Behold Enda — King of Europe.

Well, not quite yet, it is still another 16 days until Ireland assumes the six-monthly rotating presidency of the European Council, but to hear some of his hangers-on talk, one would think Enda was about to become the most powerful man in Europe since Napoleon in 1812 — just before the French retreat from Moscow.

And to emphasis the point, there was our Enda beaming from the front cover of the glossy brochure provided to accompany the pre-EU summit meeting of leaders from the European People’s Parties (EPP) right-wing block — Mr Kenny’s jazz hands aloft in the photo as if to say in the manner of pop temptress Pink: “I’m coming up, so you better get the European People’s Party started.”

But look a tad closer and who is that standing behind the Taoiseach in the cover shot? Why, it is none other than walking human-disaster-zone James Reilly.

That realisation suddenly brought to mind the episode when Fr Ted returns home and asks in despair: “You let Dougal do a funeral? What were you thinking?” before the scene cuts to a graveyard where the hearse explodes and mourners flee in panic.

Let’s hope we are not standing here in six months time saying: “You let Enda and Reilly run Europe? What were you thinking?”

Though, “running Europe” might be overstating things as that privilege will remain with the Paris-Berlin axis, at least Ireland will get to chair the meetings and have some kind of influence over the agenda.

And while Enda may be the future, all heads at the EPP meeting turned to gasp at the ghost from the past as Silvio Berlusconi once again haunted the feast as he threatens a comeback as Italy’s prime minister/head clown in new-year elections he has engineered.

The fact that resumption of power would make him immune from prosecution when he is facing a year in jail over dubious business activities, and continuing investigations over liaisons with a 17-year-old prostitute known as Ruby the Heartstealer has, of course, nothing to do with his desire to lead Italy once again — he just wants to save the country, and Europe, from itself.

All of this caused a bit of a kerfuffle inside the EPP meeting as it was not quite the image they wanted to project to the watching world — they would much rather the thrusting Enda jazz-hands akimbo vision bursting from their brochure’s front page.

But there would seem to be a printing error in the booklet as it is entitled “EPP In Action”. Surely, as this lot of pseudo-Tories have been running the continent throughout almost all the endless drift and dither of the euro-crisis, that should really read “EPP Inaction”.

And the so-called European factbook supplied by the EPP even manages to get the results of the last Dáil election party percentages wrong — although expecting the people who run Europe to get a basic thing like numbers right is probably asking a bit much.

But before King Enda can sort out Europe, he has a little local difficulty to deal with. As war over welfare cuts rips Labour apart we will get to see whether he really deserved that Nobel peace prize he partly accepted on behalf of the EU or not.

Will his Coalition end in peace or pieces? Uneasy indeed lies the head that wears the crown, Enda.


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