On Monday 13 November 2017, the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, was interviewed by the German Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ). In the interview, Tajani discusses Brexit, the situation in Catalonia, but most importantly, the need to reform the EU. Of course, when Tajani says ‘reform’, it really comes down to ‘more money for the EU’.

When asked about Brexit, Tajani says he is worried, firstly about the rights of EU-citizens in the United Kingdom, secondly about the border between Northern-Ireland and Ireland. He fears

for example forbidden food entering the EU.

Thirdly, however, and most importantly, Tajani stresses

the financial obligations Great Britain has towards the EU: the treaties must be respected.

Asked how large this ‘obligation’ is, Tajani reveals his true colours. It should be at least €60 Billion, and when the EU doesn’t get that money, its citizens are expected to cough up the difference. After offering his opinion that the Germans, Dutch and Spanish need not pay what he expects the UK to pay, Tajani says he believes there is now a majority in the UK that regrets Brexit, before discussing and dismissing secession movements in Europe.

The interview then turns to French President Macron’s plans for a Eurozone parliament and budget. Tajani does not believe this is useful. He does want an EU minister of finance, and to harmonise taxes across the EU, saying that tax breaks for Google and Amazon in Ireland hurt European businesses. There is no explanation on why this is the case and the interview thunders on towards the future of the EU.

Tajani first calls on Germany, France, Italy and Spain to act as leaders, taking the other countries along with them, calling for:

More responsibility for Europe. That is the only way to overcome important challenges. The Europeans must invest more in Energy and the digitalisation of industrie. This requires an appropriate infrastructure to keep up with the global competition from the USA, China, India or Russia.

To be able to do this Tajani simply suggest to double the EU budget from €140 Billion to €280 Billion and to finance this by giving the EU the right to tax citizens directly, instead of working through member states. This money he then proposes to use to combat problems with immigration, in the “war against terrorism” and to boost economic growth in Europe. He also suggests that there should be more cooperation in the realm of defence, including promotion of leading companies in the defence industry.

When asked about the immigration crisis, Tajani offers up the far-fetched ‘Marshall-Plan’ for Africa, misunderstanding both the nature of African immigration and the original Marshall-Plan:

In the next EU budget of 2021 at least 40 Billion Euro should be reserved over a period of seven years. Estimates predict that the population of Africa will grow with 2.5 billion people in 2050, doubling in size. In the year 2100 that will be 5 billion. We have to devise a strategy against climate change, terrorism and civil war.

But not against the obvious apparent problem, unsustainable population growth, apparently.

Asked if he really thinks he can stop immigration with an injection of cash, Tajani reveals himself to be little short of a neo-imperialist:

[Tajani] It will work when we offer the people there perspectives. We must invest the money in agriculture, industrial growth, infrastructure, small and medium-sized businesses in Africa. We need a economic diplomacy, to improve education there.

[WAZ] In the last decades, Africa was given about 2 Billion Dollars in developmental aid, from sources all over the world. That hasn’t helped much, has it?

[Tajani] Europe understands the problems much better than the Americans or the Chinese, because Africa is a neighbouring continent. [The Americans and Chinese] think about business first. We are concerned about creating stability and peace. We are simply closer to them.

Because no European country has ever paid aid and there is no bad blood whatsoever… It is said in a democracy, the people get the government they deserve. Luckily, nobody voted for Tajani – so Europeans might not deserve him.