Laurentiu Rebega: 2019 Will Be A Complicated Year for Europe, Change Is Coming Mr. Juncker

Guest post by Laurentiu Rebega – member of the European Parliament for Romania

On the 1st of January 2019 the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union was taken over by Romania.

This seems to be a cause of concern for many Brussels officials and the liberal mainstream media because, since its accession in 2007, my country has been labelled the “black sheep” of the Union.

Those concerned, have, of course, some objective reasons to be concerned, including the poor state of the economy and the weak performance of the teams that have paraded through the government.

But the critical point is the bizarre political system in Romania, which has led to the fact that, since 2005, the President and Prime Minister belong to opposite political camps.

The effect has been a nearly permanent political blockage of any and everything.

The struggle between the two power poles in Romania on ways resembles the current situation in the United States, where the new Democrat majority in the House of Representatives seeks to block the Trump Administration, using absolutely any reason or pretext.

Romania is not a big and powerful country like the United States.

In the Romanian elections, the probability of foreign interference is very significant, but no one has ever dared to investigate it. We have no Special Council to assemble a grand jury.

For this reason, many Romanian politicians prefer to listen to suggestions coming from foreign distant chancelleries (Brussels, Berlin and Moscow) instead of listening to the wishes and dissatisfaction of their own citizens.

2019 is an electoral year in the European Union.

In May, Members of the European Parliament will be elected, and in autumn the new Commission, which is actually the EU executive, will be constituted.

In the past ten years, Brussels’s power has been the result of a tight agreement between the two major European parties: EPP (center-right) and S & D (center-left).

This “big coalition” followed, in fact, the pattern applied in Germany by Merkel’s own Chancellery. It is the German solution!
In other words, European problems and, above all, the nationalist reaction in many countries stem from imposing this rigid inflexible German model of hegemony in Europe.

These past days have been marked by Jean Claude Juncker’s remark – the President of the Commission, who suggested that Romania “would not be prepared to take over the presidency of the EU Council “

In fact, there was a diplomatic nuance to his insulting remark:

Romania would be well-prepared “technically” but would not be able to give a “political impetus” to the Union over the next six months when the all-important Brexit dossier has to be managed and the budget for the next financial term has to be adopted.

In fact, it was not Jean Claude Juncker who spoke, but the electoral interests behind him.

For whom will the Romanians actually vote in five months?

Obviously, with the one who will politically capitalize the presidency of the Council!

But the political polarization in Romania means that the summit meetings in the next semester will be chaired by the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Juncker’s political ally, while the ministerial meetings, where actual details are set, will be handled by the members of the Romanian Government, an opponent of the President and, implicitly, of Jean Claude Juncker himself.

After all, what Juncker says about Romania’s ability to lead the EU Council is equivalent to saying that you can “drive” a roller coaster car. Regardless of who gets in the car, the path and the speed are predetermined, and the person in charge is the guy standing on the ground and pressing the buttons.
Those in the car can shout, have fun, be frightened, but they are simple participants in a game where the only real problem is the resistance of the infrastructure.

Therefore, the problem is whether the current institutional structure of the European Union can still support the discretionary policies of large member states, while ignoring the mood and citizens’ dissatisfaction.

Today Europe is dissenting from East to West and from North to South!

The EU itself must change or it will cease to exist.

In a way, the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council is an experiment: if it ends well, the merits will go to the current European mainstream political leadership; if it is a failure, the fault will belong to the corrupt and irresponsible Romanian politicians.

Unfortunately, we live a historical moment in which old policies and old parties, whether right or left, have lost both the ability to lead and innovate, as well as the connections with the people—their citizens.

However, I believe that regardless the slick political maneuvers in Brussels, the European elections of 2019 will mark a profound and deep change involving close ties with the people’s will.

Mark the date; change is coming Mr. Juncker.

Populism across Europe is on the rise and it will not be abated.

Laurantiu Rebega is a member of the European Union Parliament from Romania

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