Where else do we find a Parliament where a huge number of Members have no say whatsoever in the legislation brought forward by French and German bureaucrats with whom even Sir Humphry would baulk at sharing a taxpayer-paid lunch. Most members do not even bother to turn up - at either of the locations where the parliament sits.
The involvement of the UK in this dismal enterprise has been the subject of many a deep discussion for many years.
James Kanter was quitly supping his pint today and being thankful he is escaping the hive of inactivity. The Lord Harry would have Mr Junker, the President of the EU Commission remain lonely, m'thinks, as even he is fed up with it all.
‘You Are Ridiculous,’
E.U.’s Juncker Tells European ParliamentWith Britain preparing to leave, Russia making threats and the United States giving it the cold shoulder, the European Unionneeds all the friends it can get.But the bloc turned on itself on Tuesday when Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, tore into another branch of the body, the European Parliament.
“You are ridiculous,” Mr. Juncker said, after bashing the microphones in front of him.
Perhaps it needs a Cromwell to repeat to them all,
Mr. Juncker, who leads the executive arm of the European Union, said he was miffed that only about 30 of the 751 members of the legislative body were present on Tuesday morning for a meeting at the legislature’s headquarters in Strasbourg, France.Had Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, or Emmanuel Macron, the French president, been in attendance, he lamented, “it would have been a full house.”
"In the name of God, GO"
Parliamentary Presidents 'rotate'. There is a new one every few hours so that the blame can be passed around.
Antonio Tajani, the normally mild-mannered president of the Parliament, interjected.
He does after all go to great expense (with YOUR - EU Taxpayers - money) after all to move folk around and fill seats. OK, it is mainly resaturant seats, but perhaps he should hold parliaments there.
“Mr. President, I would ask you please to change your language,” he said, his face stiff with anger. “We are not ridiculous — please, please.”That entreaty did little to restrain Mr. Juncker, who insisted on a bigger crowd for his appearances in the future. “I will never again attend a meeting of this kind,” he thundered.
Our American friends might think on the prospect of the mass wassers of Washington, the Oval Office mob, Congress and the Senate, even K Street, all packing up every month and moving to Boise, Idaho. Think of the economic boost !!
The no-shows might also have been a sign of disrespect for Joseph Muscat, the prime minister of tiny Malta, who like Mr. Juncker spoke at the Parliament on Tuesday but who held his tongue during the sharp exchange.Mr. Tajani may have been furious at public criticism — which was live-streamed on the web — but Mr. Juncker’s argument, even if it appeared self-absorbed, had some validity.Lawmakers at the European Parliament will turn out for debates on hot topics like Britain’s plans to withdraw from the union, known as Brexit, and the future of the European Union at large.Other topics — like the debate Tuesday about Malta’s achievements during the recent six months in which it held the revolving presidency of the European Union — draw a lethargic response at best.“Even though Juncker’s behavior was totally inappropriate, he is right in one point: When heads of smaller E.U. countries speak in the plenary, it often seems to be of less interest compared to speeches held by bigshots like Merkel or Macron,” Sven Giegold, a prominent German lawmaker with the Greens, said in a statement.“You could say that the Parliament agenda is a bit overcrowded with ceremonial events,” said Doru Frantescu, the director of VoteWatch Europe, a research organization in Brussels. “But today was a bit unusual. Juncker normally gets a good crowd.”
Mr. Juncker later apologized to Mr. Tajani, in person.Mr. Juncker “regretted the words used during the debate this morning,” Jaume Duch, the chief spokesman for the European Parliament, wrote on Twitter. “Case closed,” added Mr. Duch, perhaps a little optimistically.European Union institutions and agencies are routinely criticized as surplus to needs. But the European Parliament has come in for particular criticism for the way it shuttles monthly between Brussels, the headquarters of union’s administrative machinery, and Strasbourg, 270 miles away.It also has been criticized for the way the number of voters participating in European elections held every five years has dropped steadily since 1979, to just above 40 percent, while the body has become a foothold for a number of insurgent, anti-establishment parties with strongly anti-European views.Marjory van den Broeke, the deputy spokeswoman for Parliament, was unable to specify the number of members present in the plenary chamber while Mr. Juncker was speaking. Attendance figures appear only in the minutes the following day and they cover the entire day, she said.In fact, members need not attend the main debate to claim a daily, tax-free allowance of more than 300 euros, or $340, per day.
(That per diem is on top of annual salaries of €101,808 and an annual staff and office budget in excess of €340,000.)Many of the hardest-working members commonly watch the televised debates from their offices, where they can hold meetings, prepare their interventions and finalize amendments over what can be a grueling four-day session.For those members who take a more leisurely approach, there is a lavishly catered restaurant inside the Parliament as well as a wealth of dining opportunities in Strasbourg, which zealously criticizes any attempt to permanently relocate the legislature to Brussels.
The EU, under Merkel is busily repopulating Europe with the sort of people who do political business with knives, demanding aquiescence or a slit throat. The choice is simple. The current EU Commission doesn't even offer a choice.
Of course even Brexit might be too late. If it takes two years to negotiate an exit one has to wonder if the EU will be there in two years to exit from.
I am pleased to live as far away as possible.