Today 27 EU Commissioners will be appointed, to rule much of our lives

Summary: Who these people are, and what they can do to you

© EU Parliament screengrab, added to by Brexit Facts4EU.Org

Today in the French city of Strasbourg, 27 men and women will formally be approved as EU Commissioners for the next five years. They will start work on Monday and will have a direct impact on the lives of all British people.

If the UK does indeed exit the EU at the end of the Transition Period (31 Dec 2020) their impact will diminish but will not disappear. And if the UK remains in the EU, these people’s actions will affect our lives for many, many years to come.

Constituting the ‘College of Commissioners’ these 27 men and women will be the most powerful body in the EU after the EU28 national leaders themselves.

As the EU itself says about the EU Commission:

“It is alone responsible for drawing up proposals for new European legislation”

What does the EU Commission do?

  • Proposes new laws – the only EU body that can
  • Manages EU policies and allocates EU funding
  • Draws up annual budgets
  • Supervises how the money is spent
  • Enforces EU law
  • Represents the EU internationally

How believable are the EU’s claims for ‘democratic legitimacy’?

The EU Parliament claims that its objective is “to ensure that the EU’s executive body has the democratic legitimacy to act in the interest of Europeans.” It goes on to say that “MEPs elected Ursula von der Leyen as Commission president in July.”

How true is this?

Let’s take the new EU Commission President-Elect, Frau von der Leyen. She will take over from Jean-Claude Juncker on Sunday 01 December (2019).

Frau von der Leyen was a last-minute compromise candidate for Commission President, when the 28 EU leaders could not agree on anyone else. She was then put forward to the EU Parliament in July.

Brexit Facts4EU.org Summary

The vote to elect the most powerful person in Brussels

  • There was only one name on the ballot paper: Ursula von der Leyen
  • She has been the close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel for 15 years
  • Until July she was the deeply unpopular German Defence Minister
  • The vote was secret, so we can’t even tell you how British MEPs voted
  • The German Defence Minister managed to win by a majority of 9 votes out of a possible 747
  • 22 MEPs abstained, 1 spoilt their ballot paper, 14 didn’t even turn up

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - Click to enlarge

Politburo politics?

British people are accustomed to elections involving more than one candidate. This is not the case when it comes to electing EU Commissioners.

Frau von der Leyen was the ONLY CANDIDATE on the ballot paper – exactly as Jean-Claude Juncker was the only candidate for EU Commission President back in 2014.

Today in Strasbourg the EU Parliament will approve the other 26 candidates making up the EU Commission. The vote will be on the EU Commission as a bloc. Over past weeks some of the MEPs were able to question the candidates for each role in the Commission. However they were presented with just one candidate for each role.

Want to watch the proceedings?

If readers would like to watch the proceedings at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg today, you can do so here.

Observations

True democracy – as it has evolved over centuries in the United Kingdom – involves having a choice. This is one of the key aspects of what ordinary people generally mean by democracy.

‘Elections’ which only involve one candidate are common in totalitarian regimes. An ‘election’ with only one candidate on the ballot paper can only be described as a rubber-stamping exercise.

We cannot emphasise strongly enough how powerful is the EU Commission in shaping the laws, directives, regulations, ‘reasoned opinions’ and overall direction of travel of the EU. These actions affect all EU countries and their citizens. And yet this is done without any popular mandate.

The rubber-stamping exercise today in the EU Parliament will have repercussions for the British people for years to come – even if the UK exits the EU on 31 December 2020.

Finally, please help us to keep publishing what the BBC won’t. We will have to cut back even further without your help. Quick and secure donation methods are below. Thank you.

[ Sources: EU Parliament | EU Commission ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, 27 Nov 2019

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