Tuesday, October 8, 2019

EU Ministers: Corrupt, Incompetent, Ignorant

If Great Britain needed more reasons for wanting to exit the European Union, this New York Times article offers them. You see, the European Union bureaucracy is being run by people who are ignorant, incompetent and corrupt. But, as you will see, at least it’s diverse.

The Times reports:

One official wore blackface. Another could not answer basic questions about his portfolio. A third has been accused of misusing public funds while in office, and is still being investigated.

Disgraced politicians? Hardly. All three are likely to be in charge of major policy areas across Europe for the next half-decade, potentially directing thousands of civil servants for the world’s richest and biggest single market.

In Brussels, a bureaucratic changing of the guard is underway, as the European Union’s new leadership team, known as the European Commission, is being finalized. If some commissioners are highly qualified individuals wielding immense power, not all candidates are drawn from the best and brightest in a pool of half a billion people.

Some are political castoffs from governing parties in the different European Union member states. The chief qualification for others is being close to powerful national leaders or politicians. Still others are being rewarded for past service with a job that can pay $25,000 a month and bring lifelong benefits.

We will not even mention the fact that the EU cannot defend itself. It depends almost entirely on the United States for its defense. Now that Angela Merkel’s Germany is making itself dependent on Russia for its natural gas, the EU’s largest economy is veering toward vassalage. And it is fact becoming what Byron Wien predicted, an open air museum.

The Times explains the workings of the EU:

The European Union, an economic and political grouping of 28 states, is the world’s greatest experiment in democratic federalism. It is also regularly accused of being run by faceless bureaucrats who too often are not accountable to ordinary citizens — a critique that can sting when the bloc’s most powerful officials arrive unelected and, in some cases, tainted by questionable pasts.

Now, somewhat embarrassed by the fact that commissioners, their version of our cabinet secretaries, are often the worst and the dullest, the EU parliament is trying to crack down.

The European Parliament, the only union-wide institution directly elected by the people, is putting commissioner candidates through an unusually tough vetting process and, in turn, trying to dispel its reputation as the weakest branch in the European system.

“It is the moment that the branch that represents citizens gets to hold the executive to account,” said Rosa Balfour, a senior researcher at the German Marshall Fund in Brussels.

(Critics also point out that the Parliament itself is not without faults. Many of its members are also accused of corruption.)

As it happens, the new leader of the EU, Ursula von der Leyen failed miserably as German defense ministry. For her manifest incompetence she was rewarded with the presidency of the EU. While each government chooses one candidate for commissioner, von der Leyen will apparently make the final decisions. 

As it happens, this year’s candidates are uniquely unqualified:

But this year’s crop is uniquely controversial. Some have just narrowly escaped charges for corruption or fraud. Two candidates had misconduct investigations against them closed mere days before their parliamentary hearings. Three were ordered to face a second parliamentary hearing after poor performances first time round.

Last week, the Parliament’s judicial committee for the first time took rejected two nominees outright — those from Hungary and Romania — amid concerns about their personal finances, including large undeclared loans and suspicious links to Russia. Both denied any wrongdoing and decried the Parliament’s decision.

Two other candidates floundered on the basis of competence. Janus Wojciechowski, a Polish nominee slated to become the next agriculture commissioner, struggled in his hearing on Wednesday to answer basic questions about European Union farm policy. He was told to leave and return after doing more homework to better respond to the Parliament’s queries.

These are not unique instances. They tell us that the EU is on the road to disaggregation. It will have been richly earned.


Sam L. said...

Say what you will, but I despise, detest, and distrust the NYT (the WaPoo, too).
And "EU Ministers: Corrupt, Incompetent, Ignorant"? Well, of course. What else could they be?

"We will not even mention the fact that the EU cannot defend itself. It depends almost entirely on the United States for its defense." I think Mr. Trump ought to announce that we are taking out troops out of EU Europe, and moving them to Poland and Hungary, if they'd like us there, and "EU, you are now and henceforth ON YOUR OWN." Yes, this may seem harsh, but they've EARNED it.

Fredrick said...

The most important qualification will be loyalty to Ursula von der Leyen and her ideology. Ministers from Hungary and Romania were rejected outright? Shockingly those two coutnries are not for open borders immigration. Neither is Poland, who is also about to get thier nominee denied. I wonder how many pro-immigration NGO connections the successful candidates have?

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Very interesting point... thank you for bringing it to our attention.

UbuMaccabee said...

I told my group of French colleagues last week that the EU was lazy, arrogant, rich and helpless to defend itself. I asked them if any such nation/country/city-state in history has survived long in that condition. Name one. Rich and helpless. It was an entertaining dinner.