HONG KONG — With the signing of the Lisbon Treaty by Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, the leaders of the 27 countries of the disunity known as the European Union are now free to take an important step backward on the tortuous road to give Europe global relevance that matches the size of its combined economies. They will go into an unholy huddle to choose someone who will bear the grandiloquent title of first president of Europe.

At one level, this is a conspiracy and fraud against the 495 million people of Europe; at another, it’s a piece of expensive humbug. The humbuggery has been made dramatic because former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is in the wings anxiously awaiting the call back to political stardom as the first president.

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