Published on Nov 5, 2013
• Conference of Presidents
Outcome of the European Council with the participation of Herman Van ROMPUY – President of the European Council – and Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ – Vice-President of the EC in charge of Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration
Video source: EbS (European Parliament)
Mr Van Rompuy, it’s been a long time, lovely to see you.
Today is November the 5th, a big celebration, festival day in England. Just over 400 years ago there was an attempt to blow up the house of parliament with dynamite and to destroy our constitution.
That was a violent approach, you of course have taken the dull, technocratic approach to all of these things, and indeed what you and your colleagues say time and again. You talk about e-initiative and what yoiu are going to do about employment – but the reality is, nothing in this Union is getting any better.
Indeed the accounts – I thought it was 18 years in a row the accounts hadn’t been signed off for, I’m now told told that it’s 19 and you are doing your best to tone down any criticism whatever growth figure you may have, they are pretty anemic, and youth unemployment in the Mediterranean is 50% plus in several states.
And of course you’ll notice there is now a rise in opposition – real opposition – and much of it pretty ugly opposition, not stuff that I myself would want to lick hands with.
It was three and a half years ago that I got into some trouble by questioning who your tailor was. And they fined me 3,000 euros for doing so. Of course, I clearly was wrong. Look at you today, you are the smart, snappy young man around town.
But there’s no question that your legitimacy hasn’t grown in those three and a half years. In fact neither you, nor the Commission – even the Parliament – none of that connection with ordinary people has got greater. And that is why there is an electoral storm coming. There’s something very dramatic that’s going to happen in the third week of May next year .
But you can stop it. You can stop these dark forces as you see them swarming into this Parliament, by actually admitting, openly, that the time has now come to legitimise, or otherwise, these institutions by holding free and fair referendums in the Member States as to whether your position should even exist.
Because the French and Dutch said, Mr Van Rompuy, you shouldn’t exist. They vetoed it and yet you continue regardless.
Are you prepared to sit there and wait for the electoral storm, or would you take the initiative and do your best to legitimise democratically this European Union, or not?
SECOND ROUND (following Mr Van Rompuy’s remarks)
Just for a moment there it got fun, you got angry with me,, it all became impassioned. That was brilliant, because prior to that it was the usual dirge, wasn’t it. It was Mr Van Rompuy talking about a ‘single supervisory mechanism’, a ‘resolution fund’.
What real people are talking about is the lack of jobs, the insanity – as in our case – opening the doors next year to the whole of Romania and Bulgaria.
So maybe, Mr van Rompuy, the answer is to ignore my pleas for a referendum and just come out and start attacking me and the eurosceptics and maybe then we’ll make it a real European election.
But I warn you, the language that you and the rest of the European Commission use is not the way that ordinary people speak, it’s not how they feel, and honestly, you sit there in front of that flag behind you: That flag and your position were rejected by the French and Dutch in 2005, you’ve carried on regardless, you have no legitimacy.
Let’s fight it out on the battleground next May.
• EU Member States:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom