Theresa May votes for Europhile arch-federalists to run the EU
Brussels bodge-job buries any democratic stirrings in EU
Photo credits: Bundestag, Ministry of the Presidency. Government of Spain, Laurence Chaperon, IMF
EU leaders carve up top jobs : A German in charge, two French-speakers, and a Spaniard
Yesterday in the EU Council, Mrs May voted for arch-federalists to run the EU from October. These are the individuals who will be critical for Brexit relations.
Brexit Facts4EU.org Summary
The European Council has made the following decisions:-
- Belgium’s failed PM, Charles Michel, as the new President of the EU Council
- Failing German Defence Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, as candidate for the EU Commission President
- Spain’s anti-Catalan Socialist Foreign Minister, Josep Borell Fontelles, for EU Foreign & Defence Secretary
- Convicted French head of IMF, Christine Lagarde, for the President of the European Central Bank
- Theresa May voted for all of them
The key decisions from the EU Council yesterday
President of the EU Council - Charles Michel - replacing Donald Tusk
One of the above appointments is secure. The caretaker Prime Minister of Belgium and Macron ally, Charles Michel, will become President of the EU Council, in place of Poland’s Donald Tusk.
Monsieur Michel’s Belgian government collapsed in December and he is presiding over a caretaker administration. With Belgium split in two (French and Flemish speaking), Charles Michel comes from the francophone part and is likely to be a key ally of President Macron in EU Council meetings.
President of the EU Commission - Ursula von der Leyen – replacing Jean-Claude Juncker
The EU Council of 28 leaders has selected a surprise outsider to replace Herr Juncker as EU Commission President. Her appointment is subject to a simple majority vote in the EU Parliament, where she will face stiff opposition. If she is rejected, the Council has one month to come up with a different nomination.
Ms von der Leyen is currently embroiled in a Bundestag investigation into misspending and mismanagement during her current role as German Defence Minister.
A loyal Merkel acolyte, she has presided for five years over what is seen by many in Berlin as a catastrophic state of affairs, with 70% of its Eurofighter force unable to fly, troops lacking basic equipment for NATO exercises, and an overall lack of confidence that Germany could muster anything like a useful force in the event of need. German defence spending is one-third less than the NATO minimum, yet Ms von der Leyen is a strong advocate of an EU military.
The new Commission President - if ratified by the EU Parliament - comes from the EU nest, having been born in Brussels while her father was an EU bureaucrat there. She has declared herself to be fervently in favour of a ‘United States of Europe’ and last year advocated the formation of a full, EU army.
EU Foreign & Defence Secretary, and VP of the Commission – Josep Borell – replacing Federica Mogherini
Technically Senor Borell’s title will be ‘High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Union’. In political terms we consider this to be the second-most important job in the Brussels hierarchy. He has been appointed by the EU Council, subject only to approval by the new EU Commission President, notionally Ursula von der Leyen.
Senor Borell is currently Spain’s Foreign Minister and comes from the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE). An arch-Europhile he is a Director of the Jacques Delors Institute, he is firmly against the moves for more Catalan independence, and he has pronounced on the issue of Gibraltar becoming part of Spain.
In November last year Senor Borell was fined for insider trading by the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) in Spain. It related to his sale of shares in an energy company while he was a board member. It was published in Spain's official state bulletin.
“We impose on Mr. José Borrell Fontelles, for the commission of a very serious violation of article 282.6 of the Securities Market Law in the sale, on behalf of a third party, of 10,000 shares of Abengoa, SA … having privileged information on this company.”
President of the European Central Bank – Christine Lagarde – replacing Mario Draghi
Christine Lagarde is infamous in the UK as head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after her interventions for Remain in the UK’s EU Referendum campaign.
Six months later she was found guilty of criminal charges linked to the misuse of public funds by France’s ‘Cour de Justice de la République’. For what can only be seen as political reasons, she was not sent to prison and nor did she receive a fine. For what may be similar reasons, she was not fired by the Board of the IMF.
How these selections were made
“Five years ago we needed three months to decide, and still some leaders were against. This year it was three days and nobody was against.”
- Donald Tusk, EU Council President, Brussels, 02 Jul 2019
Despite Donald Tusk’s pretence that the EU Council reached a decision in three days, this process has been dragging on for months. It will continue to drag on, as the most influential nominee faces opposition in the EU Parliament.
It was only on Monday evening when French President Emmanuel Macron upped the 'rhétorique’, declaring:
“We have ended today in failure, it's a very bad image for both the Council and for Europe. It is clear that this failure is sometimes down to some personal ambitions.”
“When we are here, of course we all want to defend our country, but ultimately Europe's best interests should come first. This is impossible when there are so many hidden agendas.”
- President Macron, Brussels, 01 Jul 2019
It should be noted that Macron has ended up with a French head of the ECB, and a Francophone ally as President of the EU Council. Likewise, Frau Merkel has ended up with a German as the most powerful figure in Brussels... if the EU Parliament can be persuaded to accept the compromise of the German Defence Minister as EU Commission President.
Yesterday the EU Council abandoned any attempt to give any of these appointments and nominations some democratic legitimacy. They binned the idea of ‘lead candidates’ coming from the top groupings of the EU Parliament.
Instead they have gone for another “least objectionable to all leaders” solution - a carve-up of the top jobs according to political considerations at home. In doing so they have presented a tableau of the four candidates coming from Germany, France, Belgium and Spain. Their sop to the EU Parliament is to suggest that MEPs should today elect a Bulgarian Socialist as their President, to counter accusations of western Europeans running the EU.
We invite Remain MPs to try to put some kind of positive spin on this.
And what was Mrs May’s position?
One important matter was confirmed by President Tusk yesterday. Mrs May voted for all of these candidates.
Only Angela Merkel abstained on the decision regarding Ursula von der Leyen as Commission President. Frau Merkel could not have done otherwise, without losing the support of the Socialists in the Bundestag whom she relies on for her majority to govern Germany.
We do not consider that any of these appointments and nominations are in the best interests of the United Kingdom. Needless to say, Remain MPs at Westminster who constantly talk about the supremacy of Parliament were given no say whatsoever.
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[ Sources: EU Council | National press in various countries | NATO | IMF ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org, 03 Jul 2019
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