Meet the new EU presidents that Donald Tusk & Co look like saints
Whether you are for or against Brexit, the EU has hardly improved its reputation due to the behavior of its top blowers.
The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and Donald Tusk, EU President of the European Council, have shown themselves stubborn, unimaginative and sharper about the point total than concluding a payout agreement that is best for everyone.
Now, finally, it is all about change at the EU summit. But if you hope for better qualified, more competent EU leaders than dreams.
Two of the new EU guards: Ursula von der Leyen (left) and Christine Lagarde
Two of the new EU guards, Christine Lagarde, who has no experience in banking but who has been appointed head of the European Central Bank, and Ursula von der Leyen, Juncker's replacement as President of the Commission, although Defense Minister in her native country has shown Germany, hardly inspiring confidence. There are also questions about their integrity.
So who are they and how are they appointed?
Hunters and helicopters that don't fly, warships and submarines that can't go to the sea, guns that miss the target if they get too hot and a lack of anything, from ammunition to underwear.
That is said to be the predicament of the German army under the tenure of the Minister of Defense and now the President of the European Commission.
Her raising to the top in Europe would be her reward for political loyalty to Angela Merkel instead of any evidence of being a member of the Chancellor government since 2005.
Others say it is a classic case of someone whose services are no longer needed to get & # 39; up on top & # 39 ;.
Indeed, Von der Leyen, who was appointed as the first female defense minister in 2013, has only persuaded German politicians over the political divide to question her suitability for her new role.
One describes her as & # 39; the weakest member & # 39; from the German government and others call her & # 39; the soloist & # 39; because of her tendency to act independently without consulting others.
& # 39; It doesn't matter where you look, there is dysfunction & # 39 ;, a senior German officer at the Bundeswehr headquarters told the Politico website.
Last December Von der Leyen was called before a parliamentary committee to answer allegations of alleged poor handling of defense contracts, which in some cases involved alleged nepotism.
In one scandal, the cost of repairing a ship's training vessel showed a spiral from 10 million to 135 million euros.
The Bundestag is currently conducting hearings in allegations that the Von der Leyen office has bypassed public procurement rules when granting millions of contracts to private companies.
Von der Leyen, now 60, is proud of her origins; from her rich ancestors of cotton traders in Bremen
However, this does not appear to have caused any harm to the progress of a woman born in the & # 39; EU aristocracy & # 39 ;. The daughter of Ernst Albrecht, one of the original Eurocrats when the European Economic Community was formed in 1957, was brought up in Brussels where she attended the famous European school.
It was an education, rubbing shoulders with the middle class children of other well-to-do Eurocrats, which led to her becoming an avid enthusiast for European integration.
In 2011, Von der Leyen called for a & # 39; United States of Europe & # 39; – something that the ultra-federalist party could perhaps use its new role to flourish.
She is of course fiercely anti-Brexit and describes the events since the referendum as a & # 39; burst bubble of hollow promises … inflated by populists & # 39; and last year she said the Brexit a & # 39; loss to everyone & # 39; is.
Von der Leyen, now 60, is proud of her origins; from her rich ancestors of cotton traders in Bremen, while her 33-year-old husband, Heiko von der Leyen, a medical professor and CEO of a medical engineering firm, is a descendant of an even family of silk weavers.
When Von der Leyen came to study at the London School of Economics in 1978, her family wealth was feared to have her abducted by the Red Army Faction – a German leftist terrorist group. She studied economics under the pseudonym & # 39; Rose Ladson & # 39 ;. She later switched to medicine, obtained her PhD in 1990 and practiced as a gynecologist, giving birth to seven children between 1987 and 1999. The family are Lutheran evangelical Christians.
However, her academic career threatened to relax in 2016 when she was accused of plagiarism in her dissertation. After an investigation, the Hanover Medical School decided that Von der Leyen was only guilty of a mistake, not intentional copying.
Just before Christmas in 2016, in the room in the Palais de Justice in Paris, where Marie-Antoinette was sentenced to guillotine, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, was found guilty of "negligence with public money" over a multi – pay millions of euros & # 39; s to a business tycoon.
Still, unlike the French queen, Lagarde escaped with hardly a slap on the wrist. The court waived a one-year prison sentence and a fine of € 15,000 on the grounds of its & # 39; international reputation & # 39; which, according to cynics, is a rather rum-like approach to justice.
Lagarde was Finance Minister in Nicolas Sarkozy's government in 2007 when she approved a payout of 404 million euros (£ 363 million) in tax money to a controversial French businessman and friend of Sarkozy, Bernard Tapie.
It was a long-term business revolving around the sale by Tapie of its majority stake in sportswear company Adidas to a bank, Credit Lyonnais, partially owned by the state.
Lagarde is famous about Brexit – claiming that she & # 39; not a positive side & # 39; can see
When the bank sold the shares at a higher price, Tapie accused her of cheating him and the payment was actually reimbursed by a private arbitration panel.
Lagarde was convicted of not disputing the panel's verdict when there were good reasons for it. She insisted that she had once done her duty and that she might have been misled by officials.
The verdict on the high-profile case did nothing to break Lagarde's career. Within 24 hours, IMF – Sarkozy had lobbied hard for her to get the job in 2011 – in Washington DC, she gave their full support.
And so she has continued in her groundbreaking way since then – probably her new appointment as President of the European Central Bank.
With her preference for Chanel suits and Hermes scarves, Lagarde is known as the & # 39; rock star of finance & # 39 ;. But unusually for the alleged head of a central bank, she has no banking experience.
She acknowledged her own limitations in the field and said in 2012: & # 39; I studied a little economics, but I am not a super-duper economist. & # 39;
Lagarde is famous about Brexit – claiming that she & # 39; not a positive side & # 39; can see – and an ally of former Chancellor George Osborne and the Fear project. During a press conference in 2016 with Osborne, she warned that the Brexit & # 39; pretty bad, to very bad & # 39; would be.
Lagarde also chooses to ignore that the IMF's predictions for the UK have always been wrong.
At 63, she practices discipline on every aspect of her life – a teetotic vegetarian who trains, swims and cycles up to 20 miles a week every day.
She has had an intriguing love life, married twice and divorced, with two sons in her thirties with her first husband. Her current partner is old love, Xavier Giocanti, a Corsican businessman whom she met at the law school.
STEPHEN GLOVER: With dirty back text cakes like this one, thank goodness we're going!
The process of freeing us from the EU turned out to be so lengthy and painful that it is sometimes easy to forget our original reasons for leaving.
I cannot be the only person who, after voting for the Brexit, occasionally wonders if it is worth all the bitterness and division: the abuse, ruined dinner parties and former friends passing by across the street .
It is remarkable how the arguments about sovereignty and the control of our own borders and the undesirability of a European superstate almost disappeared during arguments about No Deal and a second referendum.
European leaders have selected the successors of Jean-Claude Juncker (left) and Donald Tusk, (right) who loomed so large in our lives
That is why I have thanked the EU in recent days because European leaders have spent hours behind closed doors couriers. They have chosen the successors of Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, who turned up so big in our lives.
We are reminded of how fundamentally undemocratic and secret the organization is. People who will exercise enormous power have been chosen without the voters of Europe taking a look.
Thank goodness we are leaving! Thank God (unless intransigent Remnants start another referendum) we will soon no longer be part of a body that our future rulers secretly choose – because these people are much more than officials – without consulting people.
This club is not for me. I also do not believe that many Remainers have watched the cry with some sense of pride. In a democratic age, it is impossible to defend such practices. Let's go as long as we can, without malice or poison.
That is why the cowardly behavior of the 29 Brexit party members at the opening ceremony of the European Parliament in Strasbourg was so horrible. They turned their backs on the performance of the EU anthem, Beethoven & Ode To Joy.
How rude and insignificant and hateful they were. How embarrassing for this nation. They have been elected to the European Parliament and cheerfully raise salaries and expenses. Nevertheless, they behaved like unfaithful members of a student debate.
What should cultivated Europeans (and some in the European Parliament) think of the British political class, which used to have a reputation on the continent to be polite, well-mannered and tolerant?
The smaller liberal-democratic contingent did not behave much better, sportingly, on yellow T-shirts, the undemocratic slogan & # 39; B ****** & # 39; s to Brexit & # 39 ;. This was a rude and childish gesture – and a bit threatening.
Do the members of both parties speak for modern Britain? If so, the EU will be relieved to get rid of us. I am ashamed as I did when British football hooligans went abroad for a prey. These ovo & # 39; s in Strasbourg should be our representatives.
My question to the Brexit party, whose cowardly behavior was particularly pathetic, is this: why don't you draw attention to the autocratic nature of the EU by using reasoned argument instead of cheap and degrading tricks?
Because the proof is there, great writing. It is not only undemocratic to close grubby deals privately, as European leaders have done. It leads to outcomes that are likely to be harmful to EU citizens.
The entire process is a Franco-German bond. Neither of the two countries gets the desired person per person, but everyone must be happy with the final compromise. Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of Germany, initially urged center-right German politician Manfred Weber for the crucial role of President of the European Commission for Mr Juncker, successively.
But President Emmanuel Macron from France did not like Weber's appearance because of his political background. He preferred center-left Frans Timmermans, a former Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs.
The peasant behavior of the 29 members of the Brexit party during the opening ceremony of the European Parliament in Strasbourg was appalling, writes Stephen Glover
However, several right-wing governments, such as those in Poland, Hungary and Italy, rejected Timmermans, after which Macron defended Ursula von der Leyen, a member of the center-right party of Mrs Merkel and the German defense minister.
After many haggling, she was elected, despite being involved in a controversy about awarding contracts (she was eventually acquitted). From 1 November she will take up the most important position in the EU.
Is she the best person for the job? No one can say – although she was not the favorite to follow Mrs. Merkel when the Chancellor ceases in 2021. Not suitable to lead Germany, apparently, but suitable to lead the EU.
What is clear is that no European voter had a direct vote in choosing Mrs von der Leyen, although it is true that the European Parliament will have to support her and some on the left may vote against.
Oh, I should have said: Mrs. von der Leyen, like Jean-Claude Juncker, is a passionate proponent of a United States of Europe and a European army. Just like her predecessor, she hates the idea of Brexit. Yesterday, she told a private audience that EU negotiators have a & # 39; noble profession & # 39; had done.
What would have happened if Britain did not leave the EU? She would still become Commission President, because she is the incarnation of the EU's values - just like Juncker, whose coronation David Cameron in 2014 humiliated against.
Ursula von der Leyen is more of the same: a non-elected (at least in Brussels) member of a European political elite who wants to expand the powers of the EU with regard to individual countries. That is why I am happy that we are leaving.
By the way, I don't get much comfort from the news that Senior Eurocrat Martin Selmayr, who doesn't seem to see Britain, is facing a rescheduling later this year. There are many more where he came from.
A second president was also elected by EU leaders. Charles Michel will give up Belgium's interim prime minister to assume the role of Donald Tusk as President of the European Council, a role that coordinates the member states.
Michel is a good friend of Macron, which is fun. He is another arch-euro federalist who & # 39; increasingly closer union & # 39; and will not be a friend to Britain if it leaves its precious EU.
A third president was also crowned by European leaders: Christine Lagarde, who has been running the International Monetary Fund since 2011 and thereby raised over £ 3.6 million tax-free, becomes president of the European Central Bank.
This is a bizarre appointment. In the first place, she was convicted of criminal negligence in a French corruption scandal, although I doubt that this was very important for the panjadrons who selected her.
For another, she is more a politician than an economist and not clearly suited to the role of central banker. She was a pivot in Project Fear before the June 2016 referendum and predicted a hitherto unrealized economic catastrophe for the UK.
As Britain has not adopted the euro, Mrs Lagarde's future role may not be our concern. On the other hand, it is not in the interest of anyone to beat the euro zone.
These three newly successful presidents will exert enormous influence on the peoples of Europe. They will try to strengthen the forces of Brussels, although they will certainly be resisted by populist governments in Hungary, Italy and Poland.
No one can say how the experiment of further European integration will end. When I look at the latest manifestation, I can only say that I am happier than ever that Britain will not be part of it.
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