She’ll come from one of the smaller, less offensive, less “march across your border in well-polished boots” countries. Denmark, Austria, Finland, maybe Ireland. She’ll be pretty, but in a way where other women admire her taste without feeling threatened, and where men will want to sleep with her, but in a Christmas drinks party kind of way. She’ll quietly work her way through a number of European or national instutions, or probably both, and be on good terms with the decision makers, slowly closing her orbit until there comes a time when a late night row over the Presidency of the Commission or the Council will result in deadlock, and a knackered German minister throws her name out. Shoulders will be shrugged, neither in enthusiasm nor objection, and her name will remain on the table until the chairman demands that a decision is made because he’s got to get back to Warsaw. She’s the name.
She starts the job quietly, not making waves, but systematically appearing on the media across the Union, and sounding like a human being. She drops the jargon, and criticises the EU for its flaws and accepts that yes, there probably are things the EU should not be doing. Month by month she appears, moving up the media radar, her trademark electric blue stilettos becoming a defining icon across the continent. Her attendence at music festivals is noted by younger voters, because the images aren’t planned, because she actually goes anyway.
Then the polls start, showing that not only is she known, but she’s liked. The Economist declares her “The New Delors” and the national leaders get irritated that she is more popular than some of them in their own countries. The decision is made to send her on her way when her term is up. Then she moves, intervening in a member state election against one of her opponents. Not openly, but tacitly endorsing his opponent. When his opponent wins, a shiver goes through the Council. What have they created?
She treats the European Parliament with the ego-massaging respect that they crave, and declares that her position should be decided by the people of Europe, and that she would hope that MEPs could nominate her. When a coalition of young reforming social democrats, liberals, greens and christian democrats all announce that they are running as “blue heels” candidates, it’s game on.