On the 16th of July 2019 the European Union selected its new highest functions. We use the word ‘selected’, as opposed to ‘elected’. There is not much democracy involved when a few influential bureaucrats bicker in backrooms until they can find a person nobody is strongly opposed to. Even the pope has a higher claim to democracy, since the entire college of cardinals is allowed to vote.
Why not Timmermans?
A lot of people were under the impression that Frans Timmermans had a real chance of stepping in the footsteps of Juncker. However, Timmermans is missing the core trait that got Juncker into that position in the first place. Juncker is neutral. He makes no controversial statements, and is mostly known by the wider public for being a drunk. There is nothing scary about Juncker. There is nothing that makes you want to rise up in revolution against Juncker, to claim back your national identity. Juncker is the fool, the drunken fool who you can despise, but cannot hate.
Timmermans, on the other hand, was loved by some and hated by others. He has strong opinions. He has ideals. And he has a voice. Three things you do not want the head of the European Union to have! You want someone who can act as a puppet, who nobody can feel very strongly towards.
Here come the Germans
And in comes Ursula von der Leyen. A failed minister from Germany. Ironically a German minister of Defence has made it to be the head of the European Union. Who would’ve expected that after 1945? She didn’t get the job for being a good minister, nobody cares. She didn’t get it because she’s a minister of defence. Nobody cares about the German military. Ever since 1945 their military is out of use and not involved in any actual war, beyond offering some support to their US ally.
What matters to her?
She talks about climate, equal rights for women, and all of the other standard progressive topics out there. The feel-good topics that are constantly pushed in the media as being of the utmost importance. It is a bit worrying that the EU seems more concerned about that, than it is about the maintenance of the Euro as a regional currency, the suffering of the Greeks and others in South Europe, or the weak state of the economy. No, forget about all that, and let’s focus instead on making sure there’s an equal amount of women in top positions.
The EU remains faceless
Von der Leyen is a frail, old, fragile, woman. She is 60 years old and does not look imposing at all. She is perfect as head of the EU for that exact reason. You can oppose the structure of the EU, but it is hard to really oppose her. Who could be scared of a skinny sixty year old woman? Who would go into open revolt against that? The EU, as always, remains faceless. That is their strategy, so that their power can remain hidden.