It came as it was expected to come after the Brexit vote. Germany and the German European Parliament President are determined to out Jean-Claude Juncker from the European Commission Presidency. Berlin and Strasbourg blame Juncker for the Brexit win and have launched a campaign against him. The issue is how to solve the crisis in the European Union especially when more and more far-right parties across member states call for referendums on EU
One of the points of the German criticism against Junkcer is that he rushed to have Britain out of the European Union and just hours after the referendum result. But German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier did the same thing urging UK to activate Article 50 in a joint statement with the other five EU founding members.
German weekly Der Spiegel wrote on July 1st that
“It is a power struggle between two opposing camps, both of which see Brexit as an opportunity to finally change Europe to conform to the vision they have long had for the bloc. The protagonists of an institutionalized Europe are Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Parliament President Martin Schulz. On the other side stands the majority of Europe’s heads of state and government, led by Angela Merkel, who has created an alliance on this issue with those governments in Eastern Europe with whom she was at such odds in the refugee crisis just a few months ago.”
Another point of criticism is that Juncker wants more EU integration but Berlin does not.
“Merkel would like leadership in Europe to run through its member states. Schulz, though, like Juncker, would like to transform the Commission into a “true European government,” Der Spiegel notes.
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, a long time advocate of a “depper Europe” now urges to “Restore EU trust with pragmatism,”, to “demonstrate a strong EU to citizens” and calls on national governments “to quickly tackle and solve “several central problems” to restore trust among its 508-million population. Schaeuble told “Welt am Sonntag” on Sunday that it was not the time for visions or treaty reforms.
“If from the outset not all of the 27 pull their weight, then start with a few less,” Schaeuble told the paper. “And, if the [European] Commission does not act jointly, then we’ll take the matter into our hands and just solve the problems between governments.”
In an article posted on German conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, EP President Martin Schulz calls for “genuine European government” and wants to transform the European Commission into a real government.
This EU government should be subject “of parliamentary scrutiny of the European Parliament and a second chamber consisting of representatives of the Member States,”, Schulze unfolded his new EC vision adding that
This is known to the people from their nation-states and it would “make political accountability at EU level more transparent”. Dissatisfaction with the EU would not mean that the people put EU in question altogether. Instead, the citizens could “replace a European government with another one through elections.”
In the same wavelength with German Finance Minister a week ago – “EU dissatisfaction comes form the fact, people do not understand what we do” -, Martin Schulz writes further that “a problem with the EU is the fact that it is unclear for the citizens who does what. Often, the EU is held responsible for abuses that were due to decisions of the national governments of the Member States.”
According to Schulz, what people want is not “more Europe” but rather “to clearly define what citizens can and will expect in certain areas from the EU. The EU should not interfere in matters that may be regulated nationally or regionally, but concentrate on those issues that could cope with the European countries jointly,” Schulz underlines.
Is this what people want? A clear definition and that’s it? Or do people want more? Last week when I posted Schaeuble’s quote, quite a few people commented
“We understand very well what the EU does and this is to financially ruin people.
I don’t know if Martin Schulz held a survey about people’s wishes or he just pickd up the phone and listened to what Schaeuble had to say.
Furthermore, I assume, that what Schulz means with his “more scrutiny” is that the EU citizens will elect the EU government, the EU Commission president and the EU Commissioners/Ministers with direct vote and not through the European Parliament and that national committees – or even worse: citizens’ committees – will have also the EP under scrutiny to ensure transparency.
The issues and the problems of EU will not be solved by simply handing more power over to EP.
I am not aware of Schulz having conducted a survey among EU-citizens and thus come to the conclusion to know what citizens want.
The problem with Brussels and Strasbourg is that while they are located geographically central in Europe, they are much too far away from the citizens they want to rule over and regulate their lives. How many citizens have access to their MEPs? How many MEPs ask citizens about their opinions? How many citizens and MEPs/or EP’s officials are in open dialogue with each other even if through the social media? I know only one MEP and she is not even from my country.
The point is if the EU citizens want the same things Juncker, Merkel or Schulz want.
And here is a tool how EU and EP leaders and sub-leaders can find out: through EU-wide referendum, for example
Question coul dbe: do you want EU to reform? And add an attachment with proposals just like Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras did a year ago asking whether people wanted “the Juncker austerity package” or not.
2016 seems to be the Year of the Referendums,after all.
As for Jean-Claude Juncker… what is latest heard form him was at a press event in Brussels on June 29th when he said about the upcoming bailout of Italian banks.
“The commission would do anything to avoid any kind of bank run in Italy”, Juncker said. A bank run? This is an absolutely No-No word! Wehave all seen what happened in Greece.
Realizing what he said a second ago, Juncker paused to add “this is not a danger for Italy for the time being.”