I mentioned the other day how the EU parliament’s oligarch parties had torn up the usual conventions of that body to stop one of the euroskeptic EFDD MEPs being appointed to a job to which she would normally have been entitled.
Something similar seems to have happened in another vote, and once again by a secret ballot, hallmark of democratic parliaments everywhere. Not. The best English-language account that I can find comes from a (somewhat unsympathetic) Eurointelligence:
Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine is the mouthpiece of the country’s sururban conservatism, and we always noted an undisguised sympathy for the AfD, the anti-euro party. That sympathy radiates also to deep inside the CDU and in particular the CSU.
For some background: the AfD is right-of-center, anti-euro but pro-EU. The CDU and (the more conservative, Bavarian-based) CSU are the two right-of-center parties behind Angela Merkel.
We reported yesterday that the European Parliament’s ECON committee did not elect AfD chief Bernd Lucke to one of mostly ceremonial jobs of the vice-chairmanship of the committee – the jobs are usually distributed across the party groups [according to an established formula]
Amongst the arguments used by those who stiffed Lucke was the childish suggestion by a Green MEP that (as Eurointelligence noted approvingly) it wasn’t a great idea to hand confidential European Central Bank documents to somebody who wants to break-up the euro zone. Absurd: Lucke would have been bound by the confidentiality requirements that went with the post. He is also a distinguished economist. A bomb-thrower he is not.
So once again we are reminded that, in this insulting impersonation of a parliament, the usual rules don’t apply to those who dissent from the ruling orthodoxy. More sinister still, those who see the single currency for the disaster it has been are to be barred, where possible, from taking a look at how it is being run.
And yet David Cameron continues to argue that it is possible to negotiate with the EU establishment in good faith and, in the meantime, continue with business as usual. It’s no comfort at all to realize that by this time next year he will almost certainly be history, having led the Tory party to a general election defeat that might (perhaps) have been avoided with rather more deft footwork over Europe.
The only faint (and it is very faint) note of cheer from this sad little story is this comment from a CSU MEP:
The truth is the Lucke says what some of these CDU/CSU guys are thinking but are not allowed to say. Over the years, we would expect the CDU, post-Merkel, to open up to co-operation with the AfD, just as the SPD opens up to co-operation with the Left Party. The Left Party’s uncritical support of Vladimir Putin was a setback for SPD/Left cooperation. But the parties are now talking to each other. Expect the German political dialogue to become more confrontational once the Grand Coalition love-in ends.
It can’t happen soon enough. But don’t hold your breath.