Guido reports on Nigel Farage’s response to Ursula von der Leyen, the former German defence minister, nominated by the European Council as president of the European Commission, now seeking confirmation from the European Parliament. He makes various accusations. Politico has extensive commentary on the subsequent debate. Her opening statement is recorded on Europa.eu.
Some things I have been able to glean:
- She wants to ratchet carbon emission reductions. I think that in a growing economy this will happen anyway; the EU will no doubt think that it needs to enforce it. “I will introduce a Carbon Border Tax to avoid carbon leakage”. That seems like something the UK might do well to opt out of, especially if we can get rid of Theresa May’s ridiculous carbon pledge too.
- She wants to “finally complete the Capital Markets Union” to help small-to-medium-sized enterprises. This is ostensibly to make cross-border investment easier, but I somehow doubt it involves reducing regulations.
- She wants to “reconcile the market with the social”. This sounds very much in line with demands to redefine growth and capitalism. In other words it is socialism.
- She wants international “tech giants” to pay their “fair share” of tax in Europe. So there will be reduced investment by mult-national companies in Europe.
- She is in favour of an EU standard of minimum wages negotiated by trade unions, which is somewhat at odds with her desire to decrease youth unemployment.
- She is very keen on the rule of law. Good. “I fully support an EU-wide Rule of Law Mechanism.” I have no idea what that is, though.
- I find it interesting to compare “a fully functioning Schengen Area of free movement, the key driver of our prosperity, security and freedoms” with “a reinforced European Border and Coast Guard Agency”.
- She will be happy to grant more delays of Brexit.
- She wants the EU to make more foreign policy decisions, and mentions the European Defence Union. I believe this is what might become an EU army, although it is so shrouded in technobabble I am not entirely sure. Leyen has written enthusiastically about an army, however.
- “I support a right of initiative for the European Parliament.” A criticism of the EU is that the people’s directly elected representatives cannot initiate legislation. I am ambivalent about this, however, since I imagine it will lead to even more legislation being passed.
I stand by my assertion that inside the EU the state is guaranteed to get bigger and more intrusive.