No hustings, no debate, no votes, no elections. In fact, there was no democracy at all. Not even puffs of white smoke from the Brussels chimney to tell hundreds of millions of EU citizens who their new governors were going to be.

Just simple horse-trading, and what a donkey derby it was.

Lagarde, who was found guilty of negligence linked to misuse of public funds when she was France’s finance minister, gets the keys to the biggest bank of all.

The horse-trading took a whole three days and was a wrangle essentially between Germany and France, the two countries for whom the EU was designed and who have benefited from it most.

  • My own opposition to the EU centers on geopolitical and ideological differences. But I have those with my own government too. The distinction is that I can vote my own government out. No such fate will ever befall Frau von der Leyen or Madame Lagarde.
  • The meaning for Europe’s citizens and the world is business as usual. Mass unemployment and endless migration in the poorer and peripheral member states, austerity and mass youth unemployment in even the richer states. A former IMF apparatchik will do nothing to alter the neo-liberal tide of events.
  • A foreign policy afraid to confront the logic of Europe’s increasing differences with Washington – over climate change, over Iran, over the trade wars unleashed by President Trump, and over the crazed confrontations with Europe’s biggest country, Russia. Sanctions and the danger of war as NATO edges ever closer to the Russian heartland is a recipe for disaster. A German defense minister itching to set up a European army is equally unlikely to reduce the tensions.

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