This is what EU ‘democracy’ looks like

People of Europe, meet your unaccountable new rulers.



Remoaner Twitter lost it again yesterday, after Brexit Party MEPs turned their backs in the European Parliament as musicians performed Ode to Joy, the EU’s not-quite-national anthem, to mark the beginning of the new parliamentary session. Some prominent Remainers were literally crying, decrying the BP’s protest as an affront to Western civilisation itself. Others were busy making demented Nazi comparisons.

But so far we’ve heard nothing from these staunch defenders of EU ‘democracy’ about the behind-closed-doors appointment of the EU’s top jobs. After weeks of wrangling, the European Council appointed new EU leaders yesterday. Belgian PM Charles Michel will be president of the European Council. Ursula von der Leyen, of Germany’s CDU, has been put forward to be president of the European Commission, subject to parliamentary approval. And the International Monetary Fund’s Christine Lagarde looks set to take the reins of the European Central Bank.

These people, who most European citizens will never have heard of, let alone voted for, are set to take up offices of incredible power at the nod of EU leaders, with no proper, direct mechanism for voters in EU countries to dismiss them or hold them to account. This is what EU ‘democracy’ looks like, and it ain’t pretty. This process of appointments and recommendations, made behind closed doors, is deeply undemocratic, and the appointees and candidates themselves are almost provocatively out-of-touch.

A busted flush in German domestic politics, Ursula von der Leyen is following in her late father’s footsteps – he was a high-ranking European civil servant. In 2011 she backed a ‘United States of Europe along the lines of federal states like Switzerland, Germany or the US’ – something most Germans don’t even want – and last year she voiced support for a European army. Charles Michel, who resigned as Belgian PM in December after losing a no-confidence vote, is set to become another second-generation Eurocrat – his father is a former EU Commissioner.

But the choice of Lagarde is easily the most galling. For an institution that has a reputation for corruption and cronyism, you’d have thought the EU would have had more sense than to pick her. The head of the International Monetary Fund was found guilty by a French court in 2016 of negligence for approving a massive payout of taxpayers’ money to a controversial French businessman. She avoided jail and kept her job, and it clearly hasn’t stopped her getting even more work.

As chair of the IMF since 2011, Lagarde was also one of the chief punishers of the Greek working class during the debt crisis. She publicly backed punishing austerity measures being enforced on Greece by the IMF and the EU in exchange for bailouts. She did so despite conceding in private, according to former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, that she knew the crippling measures would not work.

Britain’s teary-eyed Remainers and deluded ‘Remain and Reform’ left-wingers have gone stunningly silent these past 24 hours. This is your EU. Own it.

Pictures by: Getty.

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Marvin Jones

5th July 2019 at 1:10 pm

Come on folks! we shouldn’t care a toss, we are leaving this steaming dung heap. The only problem is when?

James Hillier

5th July 2019 at 3:01 pm

They’d still be our biggest and closest trading partner. Also, sadly, this is not an isolated phenomenon. The mechanisms in the EU are particularly crass. But across the developed world, the quality of politicians selected by a range of political systems seems to be plummeting.

Marvin Jones

6th July 2019 at 3:38 pm

Don’t you mean that we are their largest trading partner. What the hell are you lot so afraid of?

James Hillier

6th July 2019 at 6:22 pm

What do you mean by “you lot”?

James Hillier

5th July 2019 at 8:48 am

So a failed Belgian politician will lead the European Council?

And as leader of the European Central Bank (ECB), the member states have selected a person who has been found guilty of criminal negligence, who is not an economist and has no central-bank experience.

This is the right person to lead the ECB, at a time when the bank must deal with slow growth (better than expected in the last quarter, but still weak), the impact of falling consumer confidence, the exhaustion of the mechanisms it has been using, unsuccessfully, until now to promote inflation and boost growth and a US president who has threatened to treat any more quantitative easing as the first salvo in a currency war?

And to replace Jean Claude Juncker, the EU27 has chosen someone whom former President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz described as “our weakest minister”; someone who has been defence minister for the last six years, near the end of which time not one of Germany’s six 212A-type submarines was in a fit condition to sail, only 105 of the Bundeswehr’s main battle tanks were in working order and the Luftwaffe’s Eurofighter and Tornado fighter jets, as well as its CH-53 transport planes, were only in in fit for service in four months out of every twelve.

Either these positions are entirely ceremonial, and you could fill them with anyone, or the decision-making process has completely broken down.

James Hillier

6th July 2019 at 7:05 pm

Addendum: I was listening to the FT podcast this morning. Apparently, when it was announced that Lagarde was to be the head of the IMF, they ran a column saying she was the wrong choice, for all the reasons I give above (except for the fraud case, which was still in the future). Apparently, the general consensus now is that she did well.

I’m not taking back anything I wrote above. Just putting a marker labelled “reserve judgement for now” next to her name.

Patricia Robinson

8th July 2019 at 6:03 pm

And the unelected ( only just over 100,000 party members) PM will be Boris Johnson, a failed Foreign Secretary.Wiyh FPTP voting, minority parties can get into power.Tories got just 22% of the vote in 2010, hence the need for the Libdems. Dont talk about democracy ! I rest my case.

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