Is David Cameron finally waking up to what the EU is really like?
The PM has been trying to flex his EU-reform muscles this week over the selection (that’s Selection with an S, not Election with an E) of arguably the most powerful person in Europe – President of the European Commission.
Luxembourg are hoping it will be their Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, a fierce EU Federalist.
If successful, he will be the third EU Commissioner to come from Luxembourg. Given that they also house the European Court of Justice has anyone ever questioned how Luxembourg, with a population half that of Surrey and the land area of Derbyshire continues to have so much influence over our continent?
Anyway, I digress . . .
DC has been saying that he’s looking for “bold leadership” for the European Commission but in a typical Europhile show of defiance, the main centre-left and centre-right groups have joined forces and both agreed to back Mr Juncker. Head of the EPP – the European People’s Party that Dave withdrew from last year – has said choosing [my emphasis] any other candidate would trigger “a constitutional crisis”.
The fact that this person is chosen rather than democratically elected is OK though, clearly.
As the EPP is the largest group in the European parliament, it argues that under new rules its candidate for the job – Mr Juncker – must be considered first. This position is backed by the centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group who are the second biggest group in Brussels.
According to the BBC, DC describes Juncker as part of an EU elite favouring ever closer union which is out of touch with many voters and resistant to radical reform of the EU. Oh dear!
He said that each of the main political groups ran Lead Candidates during the elections and did “a back-room deal to join forces after the elections in support of the lead candidate of the party that won the most seats”, and he’s upset that this was not a process discussed by European institutions nor ratified by national parliaments – shock horror, the EU making up the rules as it goes along to suit its own purposes? surely not!
It’s at this point that the penny starts to drop for our leader, he goes on to say “Most Europeans did not vote in the European Parliament elections. Turnout declined in the majority of member states. Nowhere was Mr Juncker on the ballot paper” – I can hear echoes of Nigel’s “Who Are You” speech at this point, damp rags at the ready.
Continuing he says “Even in Germany, where the concept of Lead Candidates got the most airtime, only 15% of voters even knew he was a candidate. ” and, “Those who voted did so to choose their MEP not the Commission president.” – Yep, that’s the Problem Dave!
“Mr Juncker did not stand anywhere and was not elected by anyone.” – Nigel’s “Who Are You” speech coming through loud and clear now – If you’ve not heard it before, you really should.
DC went on to point out that under the EU treaties, it is for EU heads of government to propose the candidate to head the European Commission, and then for MEPs to vote on this candidate in a secret ballot. Saying, “certain MEPs have invented a new process whereby they are trying to both choose and elect the candidate”. Ahhh Diddums.
Explaining why he wants a more reform-minded candidate, DC continued, “The results of last month’s European elections showed people were disillusioned [understatement of the year] with the way the EU was working. They are demanding change so it focuses on what they care about: growth and jobs.” Er, what about border controls, immigration, law and order, repeal of the Human Rights Act, return of sovereignty, trade freedom etc. – he still doesn’t get it does he?
“And they want the EU to help them, not dictate to them.” – which, roughly translated, means he’s going to look a right @rse if he can’t negotiate any concessions from the EU before 2017 and the No2EU vote will win by a landslide.
This is why I’d be delighted in the choice of Juncker; the back-door process of selection, the EU’s complete indifference to the groundswell of Euro-scepticism across Europe, the selection of someone nobody in Britain (or most of Europe) will have heard of, DC’s inability to effect this relatively small change to what the EU machine wants, all point to what UKIP has been saying all along – that Britain is better off out.