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Schadenfreude: Juncker’s appointment was made in full respect of democracy

Schadenfreude retired hurt after his memory failed and he mistakenly asserted that the (British Conservative dominated) Conservatives and Reformist Group in the European Parliament was not a duly constituted “Group”. It is.

He therefore could only watch with mounting despair  the fracas surrounding the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker to be President of the European Commission.

Britain went to political war, asserting that the man is a federalist, and therefore fatal to the British plan for European Union reform. But…

  1. The President of the Commission does not decide policy. His Commission makes proposals, if they are agreed by the Commissioners, who are nominated by national governments. National governments decide to accept, modify or reject the Commission’s ideas.
  1. It would be an unusual behaviour for a federalist to devote time and energy to resisting pressure for a multinational agreement on the suppression of tax havens  – as Mr Juncker successfully did as Finance Minister, later Prime Minister of Luxembourg.
  1. It was unworthy of British diplomacy to put round scare stories about Mr Juncker’s drinking and smoking habits.
  1. It is likewise undiplomatic to blackball the leader who has the say over which job the British nominee gets in the new Commission.
  1. The British Prime Minister, in one of the remarks he makes without further elaboration, says that the Commission is “too bossy”. The standing demand the Commission makes is that Member States respect the obligations they signed up to.
  1. In the heat of debate there were repeated demands for a truly democratic process.

But (again):-

Mr Juncker was approved by the European Parliament and was nominated by its majority.

Several Member States, including the British mainland, use forms of the ultra-democratic Proportional Representation in their election of Members of the European Parliament.

The Heads of State and Government, who by near-unanimity, selected Mr Juncker, are democratically elected and are responsible to their parliaments.

Mr Juncker’s nomination by Heads of State and Government was confirmed by vote of the European Parliament.

At every stage in a prolonged procedure, democracy was respected.

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