Smoky backroom deals in Berlin, Paris and Brussels

It was supposed to be a thing of the past. So-called powerbrokers, self-appointed and unaccountable, conspiring furtively by telephone and in secret meetings to cut deals to dole out positions of power with a cynical disregard for the will of the voters.

The European Union was supposed to be moving in the direction of more democracy, more transparency. The Spitzenkandidat idea was supposed to be part of that, giving the European voters a clear choice and an assurance that our votes would count in choosing EU leadership.

But that’s not the direction it was headed over the last several days. A rude surprise awaited many of the leaders of the members of the European People’s Party – the party that won handily the European Parliamentary elections – when they arrived in Brussels on Sunday for a pre-summit meeting. Chancellor Merkel and President Macron, along with Liberal and Socialist leaders, including German Socialist Martin Schulz, had devised a plan that would give the European Commission’s top job to the Socialist Frans Timmermans.

It didn’t go over well. Many in the EPP rebelled.

It would be a “historical mistake” that would “lead to our own self-destruction,” wrote Prime Minister Orbán in his letter yesterday to EPP President Joseph Daul (read it here). “Why did we support the national member parties of the EPP at the European elections if we give up the most important position to our biggest rival?”

The account in POLITICO Europe identifies Martin Schulz as the figure behind the conspiracy. Here’s a man who no longer serves in any position in the EU and who was roundly rejected by voters in Germany when he led the Socialist ticket in the 2017 federal elections. He devised the plan, according to the report, to give his fellow Socialist Frans Timmermans the top job and rallied support from President Macron as the leader of the liberal Renew Europe, a group that finished a distant third. George Soros and the globalist interests – those who abhor the idea that the European voters would have a say on critical issues like immigration – they would have been delighted.

This is how the elite in Berlin, Paris and Brussels does democracy.

Photo credit: Euractiv