Julian Priestley is the author of five books and many articles, reviews and opinion pieces, covering many political themes.
For my first book, I wanted to write about some of my experience in the Parliament, and concentrated on six episodes where I had been to some extent a protagonist and which had contributed to the Parliament’s ‘Long March’ to institutional power. The chapter which works best is the one on the fall of the Santer Commission in 1994. I wrote it in the form of a thriller, ‘Who Killed the European Commission?’ and, as I wrote it, I was strengthened in my belief that in most political events, accident plays at least as a big a role as design. In all the stories – because the EP’s rejection of the Budget in 1979, the stand-off with Barroso over his Commissioners, the battles over legislation – I’ve tried to bring in the personal and the political dimensions. So this was far from being an academic exercise, what I wanted was something about the EP which was readable and which communicated some of the excitement I felt at being part of this extraordinary experiment in supranational democracy.
We had a great launch in Brussels, hosted by Klaus Hänsch, former EP President and former boss and constant friend. In Luxembourg, the launch was at the Maison de l’Europe, with Jean-Claude Juncker, then PM, making the keynote speech. He also wrote a nice appreciation of the book. The book was published by John Harper Publishing.