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Debates
Thursday, 4 July 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 20 and 21 June 2019 (debate)
MPphoto
 

  Ryszard Antoni Legutko, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, congratulations and all the best. I think the most obvious conclusion that comes from the last Council is that the Spitzenkandidaten mechanism is dead. It is dead and gone. It’s even more dead than the parrot in the Monty Python sketch. I’m not sorry that it is dead because, look, there is nothing about Spitzenkandidat in the Treaties. Not a single sentence, not a single word, nothing. I know of course that the attitude of many people in European politics, including this Chamber, towards the rules and the Treaties has been consistently cavalier, to say the least. Mr Timmermans was not a candidate of the people, of the European people. Mr Timmermans was a candidate of the left-wing political establishment and it is good that he has gone. And I hope he will not return, because essentially the Spitzenkandidat process was to conserve the power of the existing political establishment in Europe, not to open the political space for the people. Far from it. On the contrary.

We have problems with rules all the time, and the European Parliament has had consistent problems with respecting the rules. Yesterday we had a lamentable spectacle which showed how a lot of people here are openly disdainful of the rules. President Tusk, of course the Council has no right whatsoever to indicate the Vice-President of the Commission – that is a blatant violation of the Treaty. It is the sole discretionary power of the President of the Commission. So, as I say, the Council is not blameless either. But there is good news, I think. The good news from the last Council is that the EU big guys failed to achieve what they wanted – they wanted to impose their own concept, their own power structure, on the rest of the Member States, with the expectation that it would be humbly accepted. Well it was not, and I hope that some lessons were drawn from that and that it will result in a change of practice. The days when two or three governments and their acolytes could dictate the solutions – even the names – to the entire European continent, are gone.

What I am worried about when I hear my predecessor here is that you, ladies and gentlemen, don’t seem to draw any lessons from what happened in the elections. You seem to be determined to continue the same strategy. The number of people who are openly critical of this strategy is increasing. There are more people critical of the strategy now than there were five years ago. And the number is continuing to rise. Yet you seem to be blind and deaf – you don’t hear any warning signals, but you should, because if you do not change course then the consequences will be disastrous. As I said, there is a slight signal from the last Council that things might get better – at least I was hopeful of that – but I lost a lot of hope when I came here and listened to what most of you have said. However, when the milk is spilt please remember that I warned you.

(Applause)

 
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