Juncker has repeated the same old mantra

14-Sep-2016 @ 12:00

Syed Kamall Syed Kamall

Syed Kamall Syed Kamall

Syed Kamall Syed Kamall

Juncker has repeated the same old mantra

In today’s State of the Union debate in the European Parliament, Conservative MEP Syed Kamall, leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, warned European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker that he had an opportunity to listen to the warning signs across Europe and alter the EU’s direction, yet instead we saw the same mantra as before.

Mr Kamall, leader of the third largest group in the parliament, also criticised the ‘G5’ where the leadership of two political groups - the Christian and Social Democrats - often pre-cook all major decisions without including other members of the parliament, or even their own groups.

He said: “In June this year the British people voted to leave the EU but the voices of discontent reach far beyond the English Channel. “In many other EU countries, the warning signals are there. And if they continue to be ignored, don't be surprised if others ask to follow. “The ECR Group that I lead has MEPs from 18 Member States who want an EU that works better for their voters and for their countries. “Our fear is that project Europe has been set to cruise control and its drivers are unwilling to apply the brakes, whilst they ignore the warning signals.

“Today was billed as a relaunch, but sadly it's fundamentally the same mantra we’ve heard year after year, just with new proposals to pile upon the last: "More military integration, more requests for funds, more debt for tomorrow’s children to keep today’s socialists happy.

“But the more Europe you build, the more detached our citizens feel. The more you propagate EU supranationalism, the more nationalism has risen in our Member States. The more you condemn or ignore scepticism, the more likely the prospect of a President Le Pen or Prime Minister Wilders.

"I know that scares most of us, but dismissing people’s legitimate concerns will simply drive voters into their arms.

“This debate doesn’t have to be about left versus right, or about euro sceptics versus integrationists. This debate should be about delivering security, delivering jobs and delivering growth for our constituents. The ECR group believes we can have greater cooperation where it counts, without greater centralisation. We believe the EU can do less, but do it better.

“The next EU treaty needs to strip back, and simplify what the EU does. An EU which gives the flexibility of a network, rather than the rigidity of a bloc.

“Diversity is one of the European Union's greatest strengths. Yet diversity and mutual recognition are being challenged by the mantra of harmonisation - a common Eurozone budget, EU-wide unemployment insurance and tax harmonisation.

“Diversity should also mean treating all countries equally. But today some countries are being treated as more equal than others. We see France getting away with flouting EU budget rules - and I quote - 'because it’s France'. We see Mrs Merkel’s Germany breaking every immigration rule in the book. We see Old Europe getting away with it, while countries in Central and Eastern Europe are actively targeted by the Commission.

“So, instead of more rules that are broken, how about fewer rules, that everyone signs up to in good faith? And we also need democracy and openness to be re-invigorated within this Chamber, and within our institutions. “We need to see an end to the so called grand coalition, where decisions are taken by only five men, from only four countries, in only two political groups. So let me remind these five gentlemen, this European Parliament has 751 MEPs from 8 political groups, and it’s time you started to respect all of them.

“My Group - and the people who elected them in 18 countries – want the EU to respond to the warning signals and go in a new direction. To deliver meaningful reform. Reform that doesn’t think the EU has all the answers. Reform which unleashes the spirit of enterprise which once made Europe great. Reform that helps us compete and provide opportunity for our citizens in a globalised world.”

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