Who really sways the room when European Union leaders meet behind the closed doors of a summit?
The starting premise is the increasing importance in recent years of leaders’ summits and the “Coreper” meetings of ambassadors who prepare those gatherings and keep diplomacy ticking between them, relative to other ministerial meetings.
In the chart below, we’ve plotted which national leaders are effective at combining forces with their ambassadors to the EU, to ensure power and influence. On the coordinate system you can see the relative strength of a country’s leader and ambassador, where the country is ranked overall, and whether its trajectory in the matrix is positive, neutral or negative based on likely events in the coming months. Turkey is included to the chart — given its virtual standing invitation to summits these days — and other EU membership candidate countries to illustrate that influence does not come only from a formal seat at the table.
From the center to the top shows the strength of the leadership of the country and to the right the influence of the ambassadors. To the bottom and to the left side of the diagram the weaknesses shown. Among leaders, Germany’s Angela Merkel is without peer. That places an extra burden on ambassadors (known as “Permanent Representatives”) to help their countries keep the pace. Yet outside elite Brussels circles, few know which ambassadors matter or how well they work with their leaders.
Hungary has been ranked in a very impressive place on the coordinate system. Outside elite Brussels circles, the Central European country has got a very strong and determinative classification being in the top 10 strongest countries. Remarkably, Hungary is the only country outside the Western European region on the top right quarter of the matrix. Most of the surrounding countries of Hungary are mostly on the left side, with less influential ambassadors and down with weaker leadership.
You can see the statuses on the interactive map showing each country and their ranking.
The power matrix is admittedly art, not science but there was nevertheless a method of its compilation. On the national leader side, the creators looked at 8 question about governmental and political topics. To locate the ambassadors a 6 pointed sheet was filled about the effectivity and working style of the emissaries. You can find the questions on Politico’s website: www.politico.eu
photos: politico.eu; huffingtonpost.com