The Problem with the President (EU Edition) – VisualPolitik EN

The Problem with the President (EU Edition) – VisualPolitik EN


Let me ask you a question… Do you know this woman? Her name is URSULA VON DER LEYEN. I must confess, I had never heard of her…
till a month ago. And just like me, neither had most Europeans. So this woman is about to become the next
EU Commission President. She will be the equivalent of Donald Trump
in the European Union: the most powerful person in Europe. And this is already official: on November
1st, she will take the oath. And OK, OK, I know what you’re thinking…
especially those of you who voted in the European elections… Who is this woman? I mean… where does she come from? Why… her? Well, I think Erik can give us more information. Of course, Simon. As you know, on May 2019 Europeans went to
the polling stations to choose the members of the European Parliament. These are legislative elections similar to
the Midterms in America or the parliamentary elections in the UK. So, the name of Ursula Von der Leyen wasn’t
on any ballot. Back then, she was just the Defense Minister
of Germany. Germans knew her but other Europeans… not
so much. And I know what you’re thinking… this
process is completely legal. In EU elections, Europeans don’t get to
choose the executive power—just the legislative one. So, technically, anybody could become president
of the commission as long as the Parliament accepts him or her. In other words, this is totally possible law-wise…
but politics-wise, it is kind of weird. Just to give an example: many people in the
UK complained about Boris Johnson becoming the Prime Minister. But, to be fair, Johnson is well known and
he was a member of the parliament. The situation with Von der Leyen would be
like choosing the mayor of Liverpool as Prime Minister just because. And yes, it is true, Von der Leyen’s appointment
is a historical event: she will be the first woman to rule Europe. Her name will appear next to other pioneers
like Angela Merkel and Margaret Thatcher. And maybe she’ll become a big historical
figure like them. She might become a great president. But today’s question is… Can we say the European Union is a real democracy
if Von Der Leyen was chosen without being voted in? What’s the EU Commission’s president’s
role? Today we are going to answer those questions,
but before we do, let’s take a look back at the history. THE BRUSSELS BUBBLE
In the year 1992, the Maastricht Treaty was signed. We could say this was the moment when the
European Union, with its capital in Brussels, started. Until that moment, the European Single Market
was only what the name suggested: a market. A very big free trade agreement that included
almost all of Western and Southern Europe. But it had almost no political power. The European Union was a giant step because
it meant that now all those countries would be bonded by a common government. Years later, creations like the EURO currency,
the Schengen Area, and many other treaties were possible. And you might wonder… could we say that
the EU is similar to the United States? Does it work as a federation, as a confederation? Well… it is hard to say. In fact, European institutions are really
hard to understand. And usually the media doesn’t really help
with this. You often hear news saying ‘Brussels said
this’ or ‘Brussels demands that thing’ but, in fact, there are 3 institutions based
in Brussels and all three are different from one another, with different roles. But don’t worry. You can understand it all very easily with
an example you all know: Article 13. In case you don’t know, Article 13 is the
common name for that EU directive on copyright that affects YouTubers so much. I’m sure you heard a lot about it. But this time, let’s not focus on what it
says, but instead on how it got passed. It all starts with the EUROPEAN COUNCIL. This is the place where the prime ministers
of all the EU member countries meet and say ‘OK, guys, we need a legislation to regulate
online copyright’. They write some general guidelines and send
it to the next guy: the EUROPEAN COMMISSION. The commission would be the equivalent of
the White House or Downing Street: this is the executive power in Europe. They have a president, a vice president, and
some commissioners that are similar to a minister or a secretary of state. So those guys read the guidelines written
by the COUNCIL and write a legislative proposal, which would be the first draft for legislation. Once they’re finished, they send it to the
legislative body, which is the EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT. This parliament works in a very similar fashion
to the US capitol or the house of commons in the UK… but it has something unique. Its members cannot come up with their own
ideas. They can only discuss the proposals sent by
the commission. For example, in the US, Ocassio Cortez is
only a congresswoman, but she can come up with her Green New Deal and try to make it
pass through Congress. A European MP couldn’t. This means that the EU Parliament is much
weaker than a normal one. So coming back to the Article 13… after
the European Parliament discusses it, they come up with their own version of the law. But there are still many details to polish. If you remember the video we made about article
13, a small detail in a piece of legislation can change an entire industry. So this is where we get to the trialogues. Trialogue is a process where representatives
from those three institutions—the council, the commission, and the parliament—meet
again to discuss the law. And finally, we have the final, polished and
discussed legislation. The final stage is when the trialogue sends
this law back to the parliament. In this case, the MEPs can vote yes or no,
but they cannot add anymore amendments. So, as we said before, in this system, the
Commission has a lot of power because they are the only ones who can send a legislative
draft to the parliament. This is why this is such a very important
question… WHO gets to choose the president of the Commission? And here is where the BIG debate starts. The president is chosen by the EU Council
and ratified by the Parliament. That is, the prime ministers of all the EU
countries get to decide who the president will be and then the parliament votes in favor
or against. This leaves the parliament in a very weak
position because they can only say yes or no, but, again, they cannot propose anybody. And this is why, 5 years ago, some politicians
proposed the SPITZENKANDIDATEN system. In this system, each political party running
for the elections must have one candidate for President. So if you vote for, say, the social democrats,
you know that they’ll fight for this specific candidate to be the EU president. Sounds fair, right? Well… there is a problem. Many political parties don’t agree with
this. Think about it… right now, the council can
choose anybody to be president. With this proposed system, they could only
choose from a very short list of SPITZENKANDIDATEN proposed by the parties. So for years, the SPITZENKANDIDATEN system
became sort of a gentlemen’s deal. Parties kind of followed this system, but
it wasn’t written down anywhere. This is how the former EU President, JEAN
CLAUDE JUNCKER, was elected in 2014. His made a coalition government between social
democrats and the People’s party. And now you might wonder… What happened during the 2019 elections? Well… what usually happens with gentlemen’s
deals… some gentlemen just break them. In this case, the Social democrats and the
People’s party didn’t have enough seats to make a government. They needed the support of the liberals…
and liberals don’t want the spitzenkandidaten system. But… why don’t they want it? And why did they end up choosing the German
Defense minister? Let’s have a look, shall we? SPITZENKANDIDATEN? NON MERCI
In Brussels, they call it the EU Top5 jobs—the 5 most powerful political positions. Those positions are: the president of the
Commission, the Vice president who deals with foreign affairs, the president of the Parliament,
the president of the Council and the president of the European Central Bank. These 5 guys are the ultimate decision makers
in Europe. So the question is… who gets to choose them? The answer is the Council. Again, the council is made up of the prime
ministers of all the member countries. Then they need the approval of the Parliament. With the spitzenkandidaten system, they would
have a bigger say in this because, at least, the parties can say who the eligible candidates
are. So who is in favour of this? Of course, the biggest political parties. Who is against it? Well… think about it. Macron’s party rejects Spitzenkandidat process
Macron, the French president, belongs to the liberal party, which is the third Group. In other words, not a big deal. But, as the President of the second biggest
country in Europe, he has a strong position on the council. Basically, having the second largest economy
in the Union gives you a lot of leverage to negotiate with the other countries. This is why usually we talk about the French-German
axis. Those two economies usually lead all the negotiations. So, basically, Macron has a big incentive
to keep the power of the council as it is now. And Germany, being the largest country both
in population and in economics, is happy too. So, at the end of the day, Macron and Merkel
sat together and said… ‘No spitzenkandidaten… we choose a German
Commission president and a French president for the European Central Bank’. And since Germany and France have the most
leverage on the council, the rest of the countries said ‘Amen’. And
this is when Ursula Von der Leyen came into the picture. Basically, she’s the perfect poster child
for the European Union: she’s German but she was born and raised in Belgium, Speaks
5 languages and has friends everywhere. Basically, she’s the kind of charismatic
person who everyone wants to be around at a cocktail party. So as soon as they introduced her to the members
of the council, the council accepted her. And I know what you’re gonna say… Come on, Simon! That can’t be it! You see, when we make political analyses,
we often try to use economic data, surveys, and complex strategies to understand a politician’s
behaviour. We often forget that politics are carried
out by humans like you and me. So, sometimes, something as stupid as telling
the right joke to the right person at the right cocktail party can drive big political
decisions. In Europe, this kind of political maneuvering
has a name: the Brussels Bubble. And who did they choose for the President
of the European Central Bank? Well… in this case, a French woman, Cristine
Lagarde, the former IMF president. This is a great deal for Macron. Basically, he’s killing two birds with one
stone. He puts a French person in power, and he makes
sure Lagarde won’t run against him. Christine Lagarde, la présidente rêvée
des Français The rest of the top Jobs went to Spain, Italy,
and the liberals. But… let’s be honest here, the biggest
winners were Germany and France. David Passoli, an Italian social democrat,
will become the next EU Parliament president. Josep Borrell will become the vice president,
and the Belgium liberal, Charles Michel, will lead the Council. So, OK, now the big question is… what is
the next step? How does Ursula Von der Layene get to choose
the commissioners? Let’s have a look. VON DER LEYEN’S TEAM
According to many surveys, the main reason why Britons voted in favor of BREXIT was not
regulations or immigration but a lack of citizen control over EU affairs. And… after everything we’ve said, we must
admit there is a little bit of truth to that. And you could say… Oh no! The parliament still could have rejected Von
der Leyen as the president! Well… look at how people can change their
opinion on the Brussels Bubble. THIS is what the People’s party Spitzenkandidaten,
MANFRED WEBER, said one day… Weber urges EU lawmakers to push back against
decisions made in ‘diplomats back rooms’ And look at what he said just one month later… Germany’s Weber urges EU lawmakers to back
von der Leyen in top job vote So it doesn’t seem to be a debate. At least, not a transparent one that we can
see in the parliament. It seems that most of the decisions are make
in a private room in that Brussels bubble. So now you might wonder… what happens next? What can we expect from Von der Leyen once
she gets into office? The first thing she’ll have to do is to
name the commissioners. As we said before, the commissioners are the
equivalent of a minister or a secretary of state in the European Union. There must be 28: one for each member country. This means that, for example, you couldn’t
have two German or two Italian commissioners. But, of course, it’s not the same being
the commissioner in charge of finance, a very important spot, as the one in charge of humanitarian
aid. It will be Von der Leyen’s job to decide
who does what. So far, all we know is that the new Government
of Europe will have parity between genders: there will be as many female commissioners
as male commissioners. And this is where the EU Parliament has the
biggest say. Because, right after Von der Leyen names her
commissioners, they will have to pass a test on the Parliament. And yes, those tests are not simple. It’s common for some commissioners to not
pass it. For example, in 2014, the Slovenian candidate
failed at the Parliament’s hearings and they had to choose another person from the
same country. So, yes, Von Der Leyen will not have it that
easy. In this regard, it’s a very effective check
and balance. But now the questions go to you… Do you think Macron did the right thing by
avoiding the spitzenkandidaten system? Are the euroskeptics right to complain about
the lack of democracy in Europe? Please, leave your answers in the comment
section below. Also visit our friends from reconsider media.com,
the podcast that provided the vocals in this episode that were not mine. Don’t forget that we publish brand new videos
every week so subscribe to this channel and hit that bell button so you won’t miss any
posts. If you liked this video, give us a thumbs
up and, as always, I’ll see you next time.


100 thoughts on “The Problem with the President (EU Edition) – VisualPolitik EN

  1. What is the difference to the UK? When the former PM Teresa may was no longer able to command a majority of parliament there was no general election but she was replaced by a person that could command a majority. This person was chosen by the Tory party and not the population, finally BoJo was voted for in parliament.
    Similar in this case: None of the Spitzenkandidaten could find a majority, right from the beginning. As a result they searched for a compromise candidate. They found von der Leyn and she was elected by the European Parliament.
    Pleas note, wile the group choosing von der Leyn was smaller than for Boris, all of them were democratically elected, something not true for all members of the Tory party.

    Furthermore, it is the Heads of government in the European Council that are the real power in the EU. Von der Leyn will be more of a mediator than a decision maker.

  2. This system is actually than better than a demagogue who appeals to the majority with bigotry getting elected with traditional elections.

  3. Ummm….the president of the EU commission isn't exactly the same as the president of the US. To say the least. The power held by the office of president of the US is incomparably greater and more comprehensive.
    Regarding the presidency of the United States and its constitutional power, we're
    talking about orders of magnitude beyond the presidency of the EU commission. Not the best analogy there. Also the EU isn't a single country, so whoever came to that position would be unknown to the majority of EU citizens unless it were a prime minister of the UK, a German chancellor, or a French president…whom most of Europeans are generally familiar with. And as for the potential historical role…yeah right. I already forgot the name of the former EU commission president. All I remember for some reason, is that he was from Luxembourg. That's how "powerful" and "important" this position is.

  4. She left a German armed forces with no spare parts, no functioning strategic lift capability, submarines along side with no spares, the list goes on. The woman is a cuntrag.

  5. 80 Million europeans knew perfectly well who this person is and how she already fucked up our defence and family department. There was nobody except for our stupid ass government who thought this was a good idea.
    My professor in European history said on the day before her becoming president, that this would be the worst for further European integration and honestly this is a sign how little those government officials actually care for what the people want. Flintenuschi is exactly the wrong person to stop the breaking apart of the EU. She is just another bureaucrat and will do jack shit for the union. There won't be progress with people from those ever staling CDU scum.

    Ok I just had to blow some steam off. I am so heavily annoyed by our politicians, who are losing voter support for and still seem to think they could stay in power by mere administering the country and pretending they would do something good while they are robbing us.
    Those people are the reason for the rerise of nationalism and all those right-wing parties in Europe.

  6. I'm pretty flipping annoyed at this video. You totally forgot about the Council of the European Union and said that the European Council is involved in legislation processes. IT HAS NO ROLE TO PLAY IN LEGISLATIVE PROCESSES APART FROM SETTING THE GENERAL POLITICAL AGENDA OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISION. 89% of laws in Brussels are passed by the co-decision method which is democratic if you understand it. The important to thing to understand is that both an elected parliament and a majority of ministers from elected national governments (The Council of the European Union) have to agree to the legislation and they can make any amendments they want. Unfortunately, this video explains the process falsely which is just going to add to the confusion. So so disappointing as you had a great chance to explain to people how the EU works and stop the misinformation plaguing the Brexit debate in the UK.

  7. Can your videos be more biased against EU? Seriously…

    First the parliment was voted by us.
    Then the commision is chosen by the government of EU member states. The governments voted by us EU citizens.

    Another biased and lack of information in this video is how you decided to present the candidacts that won.
    The southern and Visegrád Group had a lot of sway. In fact Merkel supported Weber and then Timmermans( not Ursula). But the first was inadmissible for the southern countries (my PM was completely against him) and the later was inadmissible for visegrad group. And in fact none of them had the job.

    This was really biased video. Or even worse just prejudice.

  8. What's up with the quirky humor and intonation in this episode… I actually cringed. This is geopolitics, not a mockery channel. My ears bled like 4 times.

  9. Just remember, despite what the BBC and the Remainers may suggest, the vast majority, including many Remainers want the UK out of the EU – partially because of the reasons given in this very video.

    The rest of the EU should not be cowered into believing the publicity regarding treating us in the UK in such a way that we will stay, or the rest of the EU won't want out still.

    Learn from us.

    The UK is not turning its back on Europe. We want out of the European Union.

  10. The portuguese Durao Barroso to get the to UE presidency, they open the contry to US, Uk and others country's to start the Iraqi ivasion
    after this, that countrys give the suport to get them the power of UE.

  11. 12 hungry nations 1 apple pie
    10 yummy slicez 1 will die
    11 hungry nations 1cherry pie
    9 yummy slices 1 will die
    10 hungry nations 1 apricot pie
    8 yummy slices 1 will die
    9 hungry nations 1 fig jam pie
    Only 5 yummy slicez 3 now die
    Now just 5 nations none want to die which ones will now make the next meat pie
    Tick tock tick tock

  12. two assholes where the TOP candidates and both where anti-European, pro illegal aliens and both lost because of Orbans magic…yep Ursula is in her position only and only because of Viktor…BIG WIN for Europe a huge lost for the Soroshites

  13. Development of EU part of on-going West mix up of religion and state in which the state takes on religion dimension and religion is reduced to state conditions. High priest Jesus is supposed to be central with the states handling local material conditions, but the opposite has occured for hundreds and more than a thousand years. U.S. manages to deal with this mix-up better than other nation / states, but the West would be much better off without this mix-up as it leads to more tragedy than necessary.

  14. The problem with von der Leyen, she is known for her excessive us of advisers. She spend millions on them in every position she ever hold. She never really changed anything. Horrible choice.

  15. EU new president should make provisions for remainers in UK so that they can register with EU and obtain EU card for working and travelling freely in EU after blind brexit.

  16. I seriously couldn't finish the video because of all the blabbering and the presentation tone. And I've been watching thins channel for a long time now. It's really annoying. Especially after the middle of the video, you sound like a bored and spoiled child reading off a script while he'd rather to go outside and play with his friends.

  17. You can't just casually talk about complex strategy if you can't comprehend complex strategy and to be blunt I don't have the impression that you can.

  18. One inaccuracy in your commentry though. The 2 biggest economies in the EU, (currently), are Germany and the UK. The UK being the 5th largest economy in the world. Yet Gordon Brown didn't get to be President of the European Bank, (despite his brilliant track record as the UK Chancellor), and Tony Blair didn't get Donald Tusk's job, (despite the fact that no one in the world knew who Donald Tusk was and the fact that he had pretty much zero credentials). How democratic is the EU? I don't think we need to ask that question… lol

  19. You failed to mention the Visegrad states Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slowakya. They are the big profiteers of EU Funds. The "Spitzenkandidaten" would not pussyfoot around while caving in to their demands as they think a Lady President, failing so often as a defense minister would. They made sure to remind her of the fact, that she owed her present unexpected advance also to their persistent efforts. Neither Macron nor the East-Europeans hate an efficient Bearocrat like Weber or the Dutch Frans Timmermans, or the Danish Margrethe Vestager. All too efficient, too unmanipulative. We'll see.

  20. EU is a communist type Totalitarian regime, Democracy is not welcomed there. it's what Hitler tried once, before but failed. The Allied nations decided to fired him.

  21. My god this video was so badly made and so poorly researched…
    Also why are you now being so goofy when presenting these vids? It’s annoying and it gives the impression that you don’t care or don’t take the topic seriously

  22. ‪#TheEuropeanUnion already in decline not solely from British withdrawal but the continuing establishment of corruption‬.

  23. All this is all smoke and mirrors –

    The fast majority of European regulations don't even pass through any of the (and let's be generous in using this term) democratic institutions of the EU.

    Most of the laws an regulations are drawn up by anonymous bureaucrats and become binding without any politician ever coming near.

    And that is the real problem

  24. Too much voice emphasis in this video. Please tone it down a little Simon, it becomes tiresome to listen after a while 🙂

  25. Ursula Von der Leyen is a disgusting reactionary opportunist who would never ever be elected by any public vote. She is the master example why the EU is a total undemocratic disaster. This is why Switzerland will not join and why so many people in Europe want their country to leave this EU. The EU started as a purely economic treaty for the big companies in Europe and now it serves the rich families behind the big companies. It however completely fails to provide growth of living quality for the normal population. It does so, because the normal population has no say whatsoever except for that worthless body called European parliament. You could however compare the EU commission with the central committee of the Communist party of the Soviet Union.

  26. Oooh look it the Top Ten guy……. what this is not the top ten? Ohhh so this is not you opinion your a spokesman? For who?

  27. Were they right? Depends on perspective. It protects the German and French defacto control and thus is inherently in the interests of Germany and France. Keeping defacto European power in Berlin and Paris. It's perfectly logical from the German and French perspective.

    Probably not right from the EU perspective though as it inherently undermines the idea "we're in this together". Because if we really were they'd happily bow to the democratic wisdom of the people and let the citizens decided and not just the French and German electorate.

  28. Thanks Simom!
    Great, now we know who is UVL and how she got heaved into that poisition.
    But she is in the un-enviable position of having to deal with Brexit, whatever the fallout of that will be.
    How did you prepare for Brexit as a British citizen living in Prague (lovely city, my favourite)?

  29. I think that the video should be remade explaining that the European Council (heads of State and Government) and the Council of the European Union or, simply, the Council (the meeting of sectorial ministers) are two different institutions with different competences.

  30. The President of the EU Comission is not the equivalent of a US President nor is it the most powerful political role in europe.

  31. The larger the voting pool, the less each individual has a say in the actual outcome. if there are 10 people in a voting pool, you get 1/10th of a say in what happens. If there are 100, you get 1-100th of a say, etc. This is why institutions that overarch others are less legitimate than the ones below them, and why they should have less power.

  32. So only two countries have power in the EU? Especially the most populous and influential?… huh… Makes me admire electoral college here in Murica. Just ignore the fact they can vote for who they want over the people's choice if they so choose.

  33. I'm sorry to so say, but you left out a lot of context. I'm not happy with Von der Leyen or the process either, but this video just adds to the confusion and distrust about/in the EU.

  34. I still find it funny you guys know more about are politics (USA) then your own. Sometimes we joke and say sort yourselves out before casting stones at us hahaha

  35. I still remember how after Von der Leyen took office as defence minister, it turned out the German army was using broomsticks instead of gun barrels on a NATO exercise, at some point did not have a single working submarine for months, etc. Yeah, that's a person who should get the top position in the EU!

  36. Probably one of the main reason that the EU elections has so much low participation… A big percentage of Europeans even does not know the current name of the EU Commission President… It should be as in the USA, with a proper elections for the President…

  37. The President of the European Commission is far from being the equivalent of the US President in the EU. They have far less power.

  38. Spits on Candidate? I accept! Anyone should be allowed to spit on political public figures!

    Oh. That's not what SpitzenKandidaten means? Damn it!

  39. I think I've watched all ur vids – that means I really like VP BUT the facial/verbal overacting is getting even more annoying. 800k subscribers , what would I know?

  40. Franco-German axis is great! The most powerful nations in Europe. Keeping Europe strong and them pesky bad behaving nations like Poland, Hungary and Brexitland in chiggity check.

  41. You have to laugh, this is literally what us Hong Kongers have been protesting about for the 3 months. An unelected government forced on us. However for Remainers this whole corrupt system is seen as utopia.

  42. I want the Spit Candidate system back. Putting IMF president in power of central bank is a really bad idea … might as well put Greek Communist politician in charge. They’d do a better job.

  43. Brussels was already filled with "Selbstbediener", and now Flintenuschi is the president? No wonder Brexit happened….

  44. I think you are entirely mistaken. The EU is not, never has been and was never intended to be democratic.

    It was specifically designed with the idea of moving as many powers and policy areas as far away from voter influence as possible. Just so that those pesky voters can't interfere when they want to do something which they know will never see the light of day in a proper democratic national parliament.

    European Commission = Eurosoviet Politburo. Both unelected and undemocratic.
    European Parliament = Eurosoviet Duma. Fake parliament intended to make people believe there is any democracy (which there isn't since transnational democracy doesn't exist).
    Council of Ministers/Council of the European Union = construct set up to enable national government ministers to bypass their own parliaments by "going through Brussels"

    It is not, and it never has been democratic to have a country's laws voted on by foreign politicians.

    And did you know the Euro has never benefitted the poor and lower middle class? Sure, the rich, upper middle class and bankers make out like bandits, but them and only them.
    We now see actual wealth destruction in action as the corrupt European Central Bank (led by corrupt Wall Street stooge Draghi) is enriching the rich (buying their assets via QE) with the specific goal (publicly stated) of causing more inflation that disproportionately hurts the poor (as the poor spend a larger proportion of their income on products subject to inflation).

    In other words: bailouts for the rich, paid for by more inflation that hurts the poor. Brought to you by those who brought you the Euro, a currency that actually destroys wealth (savings, pensions) through artificially low interest rates.

    And that's not even mentioning the absolute racist and imperialist idea behind the common agricultural and fisheries policies (hint: those are there to prevent French farmers and fishermen from having to compete with African farmers and fishermen).
    EU: African countries cannot tariff us but we can (and will, and do) tariff them (on behalf of French farmers and fishermen).

    And isn't Von der Leyen under investigation for corruption and nepotism?

  45. I think it's more democratic for elected prime ministers to pick the commision president than for some random people at the EPP to do it. Because they get the most votes anyway.

  46. Alright I think I am going against the majoirity here but I love the over acting from Simon in this video. It makes more lively and less dull than just a 19 minute exposition with him asking at the end "and what do you think?"

  47. The British situation is almost imperceivable to foreign observers. Indeed most british politicians and the rump proletariat are clueless. The middle classes parrot the conventional opinion. Hardly anyone among british voters knows anything about EU accountability, and they're not bothered to find out. Whatever rhetoric someone important says will suffice, and they fall in line. Their objection was not that European Commision members are not directly elected, nor that European parliamentarians cannot introduce new legislation. Their objection was: David Cameron – he's an arrogant, tory toff, telling us what's good – Bollocks to that, let's stick it to him. Then there's the delusional Corbynite communist utopia, that sucks in so many "salt of the earth" working classes. Heark back to the War !!! always these sad old tropes. There's a deep distrust among the (deliberately kept ignorant) masses towards any change. Mostly perpetuated by the reactionary, dumbed-down media (Sun, Mail, Times, Mirror..) this dangerous wave of propaganda has fuelled Nationalism, that's come to a head. Racism, Scapegoting, violent threats and attacks against foreigners have come out the woodwork, enboldened like never before. All the woes the populous suffer at the hands of their own, uncaring, neglectful government, they were prompted to blame on "Johny Foreigner" – Remember the War! Still? This sickness and ignorance is at the heart of brexit and why the stupid, uninformed voters are intent upon doing themselves catastrophic harm – while misery, desperation is self-inflicted, the usual, priveleged upper class sharks will clean up,laughing all the way to the bank

  48. OK Europe why do you keep electing people who have no record for the people? But are elitist who are trying to destroy your culture.

  49. We should have given europe to the the soviets instead of implementing the marshall plan. At least then, the tyranny would be on full display rather than hidden behind byzantine layers of hypocrisy and bureaucratic bullspunk.

  50. The confusing structure and process of the EU Government seems like a perfect storm for a lack of accountability to the public. This and the question of sovereignty makes Brexit seem a more reasonable choice.

  51. Seriously, Europe? You're staffing your government based on dicks and vaginas as opposed to merits? That's depressing.

  52. As defence minister she spent 500 millions on a drone that never flies.
    She spent a lot on consultants for military matters.
    She made the argument a kindergarden should be near or in military bases. First strike targets.
    Wonderful EU president greetings from Germany

  53. not really anything like trump? more like the german president or even the australian president of the senate. And it's not at all weird, the USA iss the weird one.

  54. So many misleading statements…for one, no, it isn't like you just picked a random major. YOU might not have known who von der Leyen is, but she has been part of Germany's government for quite some time and was the freaking defence minister when she was picked. People who care about politics in Europe would have at least heard of her at some point.

    Two, you are really misrepresenting the role she will have and the role of the Commission. AsaldinGame took this already apart on a technical level, but to explain what its role actually is: The Commission is the body which ensures that the interest of the member states are not trampled over. Consequently you can compare the role of the president with the role of a babysitter, someone who has the job of convincing the delegates of said countries to work together on important issues. There is actually little in terms of direct power in the hand of the president, a word, which has a very different meaning in Europe than in the US.

    Three, the Spitzenkanditen system is (ironically) a very German concept. But there is no actual rule which says that a party has to stick to the candidate chosen. It's just bad optics not to do so, so it never happened in Germany.

    Four, the way you represent it, it sounded as if the Social democrats have some sort of majority. Not the case. What happened was that the EVP (the conservatives) lost their absolute majority, but they are STILL the biggest party in the parliament with 182 seats. The social democrats have 152 seats and the liberals made gains and ended up with 108 seats. Timmermans gained a lot of votes in his home country, the Netherlands, but the Social democrats in general lost support in a lot of places. At the same time the candidate of the EVP, Weber, failed to get support even in his own country (Germany). This set-up created a situation in which the liberals became "kingmakers" so to speak.

    So, the Social democrats insisted on Timmermans, even though they aren't even the strongest party. The EVP initially wanted Weber (again, like von der Leyen a German candidate), but  since Weber belongs to the more conservative wing of the German Conservatives (meaning he is a CSU politician, NOT a CDU politician), there was no chance whatsoever that they would get any other party to vote for him, not even all of the liberals. They could have supported Timmermans, but the Visegard countries blocked the idea from the get go.

    So a compromise had to be found. And ideally said compromise had to be a German candidate because, well, Germany didn't held this office in DECATES. It was simply Germany's turn, like it or not. Fun fact: Luxembourg has been pretty successful in getting it in the past. Von der Leyen most likely got it not simply because she is "nice at parties", but because she belongs to the most moderate wing of the CDU, meaning she is a centrist in the original meaning: A mother of seven children herself, and thus standing for "family values" but known for having pushed for more day care options especially to help single moms. She also voted for gay marriage. She is a walking and breathing compromise, someone both the centre right and the centre left could vote for. And the Visegard countries were okay with her despite her being a very outspoken defender of the EU AND its values.

    Finally, yes, this is the hell more democratic than the way Bojo (Alex!) came to power. It's called "indirect democracy". We elect our MEPs and our elected governments decide who they send to the council. Alex Johnson was elected by Tory party members only, who are a tiny, tiny percentage of the British population, and only after the Tory MPs (who are elected in a FPTP system) picked two final candidates.

  55. It would be good to see Europe go back to democracy. The Bureaucracy is corrupt and cares little for the people of Europe.

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