Author: by Stephen Hill
The election of Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission was a triumph of bureaucracy over democracy: but who is he? And who now does what exactly?
Last week’s blog reminded readers of the fate of the late Nicholas Ridley MP, who was pilloried and harried out of high office when he said the Maastricht Treaty was just a German plan to take over Europe without firing a shot. With France on the floor and the UK heading towards the Brexit, it’s worth taking a look at Ridley’s prophecy. Here’s a Who’s Who of who’s running Europe now:
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Martin Selmayr, formerly Juncker’s campaign manager and now EU director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Klaus Weller, secretary-general of the European Parliament
Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament
Uwe Corsepius, secretary-general of the European Council
Werner Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank
Plus Jean-Claude Juncker, German puppet
All the appointees have one thing in common: they are part of Merkel’s CDU party. Twenty years on and Ridley has been proven right.
Selmayr is the real powerhouse now. Aged just 43, described as ‘incredibly clever and capable and a true believer in the European project’, he was behind Juncker’s appointment. A lawyer and ex-Bertlesmann lobbyist himself, he and the leader writer of Axel Springer’s Der Spiegel led German opinion behind Juncker.
The new direction of the anti-democratic EU government is now in the hands of a late-night bibulous fixer, organised and driven by a maniacally clever German lawyer, intent on pushing the European federalist project forward regardless of opposition. (All as Ridley predicted.) Meanwhile, the would-be British commissioner is still looking for a desk to sit behind and something to do.