Double-hatted / Doppelhut

For a long time in English we’ve spoken of a person wearing two hats if they combined two functions. Probably the expression wearing a double hat is not completely new, but most of the ghits are very recent.

It usually refers to a future position in the EU and it looks as if Tony Blair made it popular in a speech in November 2002:

There is an overlap between the work of the High Representative and the External Relations Commissioner. Some have proposed that in future this role should be occupied by a single person wearing a double hat. As Javier Solana has said, this would raise practical problems that we need to debate. My point is simply this. Double hatting cannot be a way, through the back door, of communitising the CFSP.

Wearing a double hat sounded odd to me when I first read it. Even odder is the plural: ‘For our session this afternoon, I am wearing double hats’ said Eneko Landaburu in Brussels in January 2006.

This has now gone into German as the Doppelhut.

In der Diskussion über den Vertrag über eine Verfassung für Europa (VVE) ist oft vom sogenannten Doppelhut die Rede. Mit dem Begriff Doppelhut wird auf die Besetzung zweier Ämter durch eine Person verwiesen. Dabei verweist der „große Doppelhut“ auf die Stellung des Präsidenten des Europäischen Rates und die des Kommissionspräsidenten. Der „kleine Doppelhut“ bezieht sich auf die Rolle des Europäischen Außenministers.

Die Welt calls Doppelhut ‘EU-Jargon’. It also comes up in a list of important EU terms.

Here’s a picture of someone wearing two hats, but not a double hat:


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