Verdun! Verdun!

by Andrew Stuttaford

José Manuel Barroso, the former Maoist and current authoritarian who presides over the EU’s bureaucracy, gave what will hopefully be his final “state of the union speech” and he played that card of the intellectually desperate, the Verdun card.

The Daily Telegraph’s Bruno Waterfield explains:

The European Commission president has used his annual “state of the Union” speech to MEPs to warn Eurosceptics that their hostility to the EU could again plunge Europe into war. In a thinly veiled reference to those like David Cameron, the Prime Minister, who want to roll back the EU’s powers, Mr Barroso said that next year’s centenary of the First World War should be a reminder of the “Union’s” role of keeping the peace in Europe.

“Let me say to all those – including some in this House – who rejoice in Europe’s difficulties and who want to roll back our integration and go back to isolation: the pre-integrated Europe of the divisions, the war, the trenches, is not what people desire and deserve,” he said. . . .

Martin Callanan MEP, the leader of the European Conservatives, took issue with Mr Barroso’s claim that the EU was all that stands between peace in Europe and return to the trenches and slaughter of the First World War.

“No one seriously believe that anymore. We need a new eurorealist direction with different ideas. One that says that patriotism is healthy. To be proudly German or French or Polish is not necessarily to be anti-European. The concepts are not antagonistic,” he said.

“The real anti-Europeans are those whose idea of change in the EU only means moving faster in the old failed direction. The real nationalists are those who force us to accept a European nation that actually in reality nobody wants.”

Mr Barroso responded to Mr Callanan by saying that his views would exclude him from senior EU office, such as the job of commisison president and accused the Conservatives of pandering to Ukip.

“Increasingly your party is looking like Ukip,” he said.  Nigel Farage MEP, the leader of Ukip, accused Mr Barroso of creating a myth. “It was not the EU which ensured peace in Europe but Nato and thousands of American soldiers. It is the EU via the euro and massive austerity which is causing huge unemployment, poverty and social unrest. Violence in Spain and Greece is a direct consequence of EU policies.”

Callahan and Farage are, of course, correct.

There was something else in Barroso’s speech that was well worth noting.

The Guardian reports:

The European Commission should be given new punitive powers to police democratic rights in the 28 countries of the EU, the commission chief has said.

In unrelated news, the Joker has just been appointed police commissioner in Gotham City.

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