Europe and the EU have undergone great changes in recent times. Here are five winners and five losers.
1. The French language. All five of the new presidents of the
Commission, Council, Parliament, and Central Bank as well as the High
Representative are fluent French-speakers.
2. Old Europe. Founding members of the European Community — Germany,
France, Italy, Belgium — are now in the saddle along with the historic
nation of Spain.
3. Centrists. There are two center-right big cheeses – Ursula von der
Leyen and Christine Lagarde running the Commission and Central Bank,
two socialists – David-Maria Sassoli and Josep Borrell heading the
European Parliament and EU foreign service and one liberal – Charles
Michel presiding over the European Council.
4. Emmanuel Macron. Derided by the Anglo-Saxon press as failing and
flailing under pressure from the Gilets Jaunes protest movement and a
confident Marine Le Pen Macron has played the EU game effectively with a
win for what he calls “les progressistes” against “les nationalistes”
in both the European Parliament election and now in the formation of
the new EU leadership team.
5. Women. The EU of Jean-Claude Juncker and previous Commission
presidents was reserved for men. Now the EU has two young sexagenarians —
Ursula von der Leyen, 60 and Christine Lagarde,
63 — holding top global posts in the world’s biggest economic block.
Add in Macron’s closest advisor, Brigitte Macron, 66, and this troika of
ladies is the most powerful group of women in global politics.
1. Steve Bannon and his two year long demagogic populist campaign
against the EU. Matteo Salvini, Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage, the AfD in
Germany, FPÖ in Austria and other rightist xenophobic parties in Nordic
Europe have all proclaimed their moment was arriving. It didn’t.
2. New Europe. The turn of nationalist populism in Poland and Hungary
or the endemic corruption involving politicians and business in
countries like Romania, Bulgaria or the Czech Republic left leaders like
Viktor Orban or Jarosław Kaczynski friendless and without influence
outside Hungary or Poland.
3. Brexit. All the new EU leadership team are on the record saying
Brexit is bad for the EU and none is willing to make concessions to
Boris Johnson who has denigrated and told lies about Europe over his 30
year political-journalist career. There will be no hand extended to help
a Johnson-Farage UK from Brussels.
4. Putin. The Russian president grandly announced on the eve of the
G20 summit that the era of liberal democracy was over. All the new
leadership team in Europe are committed to liberal values – respect for
rule of law, media freedom, rights for women and for LBGT community.
Putin spent money campaigning for anti-EU parties in the European
Parliament election but they lost support. Von der Leyen shares with her
mentor Angela Merkel a cold anger at Putin’s Anschluss of Crimea and
his military interventions on the Donbass, and other intervention in
the sovereignty of a European UN member state – Ukraine.
5. European democracy. The Spitenkandidat system was flawed
and weakened by the choice of Manfred Weber as a possible European
Commission president. He was simply unacceptable to too many others and
the CDU-CSU political machine should have seen this.
But the return to Berlin and Paris deciding everything behind closed
doors with other EU member states having to accept Macron’s fait
accompli is a reversion to exactly the back-room fixes and trades that
gave the EU a bad name.
The Greens in particular who scored very well in the EP elections and
are now ahead of the SPD in Germany and strong in other countries can
feel justifiably aggrieved at being kept out of any EU leadership
UK Minister for Europe & Contributing Editor at The Globalist
MacShane, a Contributing Editor at The Globalist, was the United Kingdom’s
Minister for Europe from 2002 to 2005 — and the author of “Brexit: How Britain
Will Leave Europe.” And, most recently, the author of Brexit No Exit. Why (in
the end) Britain Won’t Leave Europe
MacShane was the Member of Parliament for the UK’s Rotherham constituency, in
South Yorkshire, from 1994 to 2012. In 2001, he was named a minister at the
Foreign Office by Prime Minister Tony Blair.
his career as a BBC reporter. Before becoming an MP, he worked for the
international trade union movement promoting trade union rights and wrote books
on the steel industry and on global political issues. He set up and was first
chairman of the Steel Group of MPs in the House of Commons and worked closely
with the steel industry and trade unions in South Yorkshire.
MacShane was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He holds a Master’s degree from Oxford
University and a Ph.D. from the University of London.