European Superstate: A Massive Expansion Of Central Power Coming Soon
By Soeren Kern/Gatestone InstituteJuly 31, 2019
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Former German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has been narrowly confirmed as the next President of the European Commission, the powerful administrative arm of the European Union.
In a secret ballot in the European Parliament on July 16, von der Leyen, a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, received 383 votes, only nine more than the 374 required — the lowest margin since the position of President was established in 1958. She will take over from Jean-Claude Junker in November 2019 for a five-year term.
Before the vote, von der Leyen promised an ambitious left-leaning policy program on climate change, taxes, migration and the rule of law. Many of her pledges — which would require transferring yet more national sovereignty to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels — appeared aimed at enticing support for her candidacy from Greens and Socialists in the European Parliament.
In the past, von der Leyen has called for the creation of a European superstate: "My aim is the United States of Europe, on the model of federal states such as Switzerland, Germany or the United States," she said in an August 2011 interview with the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel.
An examination of von der Leyen's policy proposals, reveals that she is calling for a massive expansion of top-down powers of the European Commission. Her proposals would substantially increase the role of Brussels in virtually all aspects of economic and social life in Europe — all at the expense of national sovereignty.
Following is a brief summary of von der Leyen's main proposals for the next five years, as outlined in a 24-page document titled, "My Agenda for Europe":
Von der Leyen called for the European Union to be "carbon neutral" by 2050. She pledged to propose a "European Green Deal" during her first 100 days in office. The deal would include the first "European Climate Law" to enshrine the 2050 climate neutrality target into law: "Carbon emissions must have a price. Every person and every sector will have to contribute."
She also pledged to introduce a "Carbon Border Tax" that would apply to non-European companies, to ensure that European companies "can compete on a level playing field." In addition, a "European Climate Pact" would "commit to a set of pledges to bring about a change in behavior, from the individual to the largest multinational."
Von der Leyen's social reengineering scheme would be paid for by European taxpayers: A "Sustainable Europe Investment Plan" would "support €1 trillion of climate investment over the next decade in every corner of the EU." She also vowed that the EU "will lead international negotiations to increase the level of ambition of other major emitters by 2021."
Economy, Society and Taxation
Von der Leyen vowed to prioritize the further deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union. She pledged to introduce a "Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness," a "European Deposit Insurance Scheme" and complete a "Banking Union." She also vowed to strengthen the international role of the euro.
She pledged to integrate European economic governance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Von der Leyen proposed a legal instrument to ensure a minimum wage for workers in all 28 EU member states.
Von der Leyen also proposed a "European Gender Strategy" to ensure "equal pay for equal work," and pledged to introduce "binding pay-transparency measures." She vowed to set quotas for gender balance on company boards. She also promised a fully gender-equal European Commission: "By the end of my mandate, I will ensure we have full equality at all levels of Commission management. I will accept nothing less."
Rule of Law, Migration and Internal Security
Von der Leyen called for a comprehensive "European Rule of Law Mechanism" to ensure the primacy of EU law over the national laws of EU member states. She warned that there would be financial consequences for member states that refuse to comply: "I intend to focus on tighter enforcement, using recent judgements of the Court of Justice showing the impact of rule-of-law breaches on EU law as a basis. I stand by the proposal to make the rule of law an integral part of the next Multiannual Financial Framework." She added: "The Commission will always be an independent guardian of the Treaties. Lady Justice is blind – she will defend the rule of law wherever and by whomever it is attacked."
Von der Leyen also called for a "New Pact on Migration and Asylum" in which a reinforced European Border and Coast Guard Agency would take over border control responsibilities from EU member states: "I want to see these [EU] border guards with the ability to act at the EU's external borders in place by 2024."
Meanwhile, a new "Common European Asylum System" would require all EU member states to offer asylum to migrants who request it: "We all need to help each other and contribute." In addition, the European Public Prosecutor's Office "should have more muscle and authority" and "be able to investigate and prosecute cross-border terrorism."
European Defense and Trade
Von der Leyen, who previously called for the creation of a European Army, pledged to take "further bold steps in the next five years towards a genuine European Defense Union." She added: "We need an integrated and comprehensive approach to our security."
She also said: "I believe Europe should have a stronger and more united voice in the world." She called for a change in rules so that the EU could act even without the unanimous consent of EU member states: "To be a global leader, the EU needs to be able to act fast: I will push for qualified majority voting to become the rule in this area. I will work closely with the High Representative/Vice-President to ensure a coordinated approach to all of our external action, from development aid to our Common Foreign and Security Policy."
Von der Leyen's paper-thin endorsement by the European Parliament showed that she has as many detractors as supporters. Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage may be her biggest critic. Addressing the European Parliament, he said:
"What you've seen from Ursula von der Leyen today is an attempt by the EU to take control of every single aspect of our lives. She wants to build a centralized, undemocratic, updated form of Communism that will render [obsolete] nation state parliaments, where the state controls everything, where nation state parliaments will cease to have any relevance at all.
"I have to say from our perspective, in some ways, I'm really rather pleased, because you've just made Brexit a lot more popular in the United Kingdom. Thank God we're leaving!
"But it is in the aspect of defense that I think people's minds should be focused. She's a fanatic for building a European Army, but she's not alone. When it's completed, NATO will cease to exist or will not have any relevance in Europe at all."
Brexit Party MEP Matthew Patten, in an opinion article — "Fanatical Von der Leyen is the Final Nail in the Coffin for Shambolic EU 'Democracy'" — published by The Telegraph, wrote:
"Starting with 'we have to do it the European way' and 'the world needs more Europe' her proposals included an EU minimum wage, a capital markets union, a European unemployment insurance scheme, and most controversially, the abandonment of the national veto on foreign policy, another step towards a European Army and handing over the decision to go to war to the EU.
"She also promised the deepening of Europe's economic and monetary union, a common consolidated corporate tax base, to be sympathetic towards an approach from Britain for further delay of Brexit.
"Von der Leyen concluded saying, 'We need to move towards full co-decision power for the European Parliament and away from unanimity for climate, energy, social and taxation policies. She finished with a rallying cry 'Long Live Europe!' — underlining her support for a United States of Europe."