Shares

Guy Verhofstadt had a busy day tweeting and talking on 17 April, when French President Emanuel Macron gave a speech in European Parliament (EP). For the occasion, of course, Verhofstadt said a few words, in his special kind of French. The official transcript of the meeting was not yet available at time of writing, but the in-camera translation of Verhofstadt’s speech is available through the EP’s own website. Let’s have a closer look at his words in which he implicitly calls for an EU army capable of conducting strikes similar to those carried out against Syria by the US, France and UK:

We unreservedly support the military action carried out by France and other allies in Syria. I think we have to say that, because, dear colleagues, a regime which uses chemical weapons against its own people is a genocidal and illegitimate regime. This is a reality we must face full on. But Mr. President, I have to say that your speech shows a weakness too, because it is France intervening, the United Kingdom that intervenes and that shoots missiles, it’s not the European Union. Sixty-five years after the National Assembly scuttled the European Defense Community there is still no European Army, and equally we must say that our foreign policy, dear colleagues, is occasionally an illusion. This because of our lack of unity, because of the unanimity rule which is still there in the EU’s foreign policy, it is an aberration, and we must do away with it as soon as possible, this is a weakness and we must recognise it. And it is not just restricted to our foreign policy.

Let’s disregard the hornets’ nest of Syria, and concentrate on Verhofstadt’s attitude towards parliamentary democracy, member state sovereignty and military aggression by Brussels.

Verhofstadt calls it “a weakness” that sovereign member states of the European Union can pursue their own foreign policy, separate from the EU. For whom? Not for the member states, so surely it is a weakness for the EU. Verhofstadt would rather have it be the EU that “shoots missiles” and is more than willing to take away member states’ sovereignty in order to be the one that does the shooting. One cannot accuse Verhofstadt of not being open about this. Later on in his speech he congratulates Macron on his ‘bravery’ before going on to say that

true sovereignty is European.

Something he also tweets about:

Verhofstadt is also very open about his wish to be, in effect, the ultimate arbiter of European values. Frankly, his attitude towards the sovereignty of member-states, in combination with his wish for a European Army is scary. This is a man who, in one speech, declares that

Poland, Hungary: there should be no room for ‘illiberal states’ in our Union

and chides the President of the French Republic for a decision taken in 1954 by the National Assembly. Not only was the decision to not go forward with the European Defense Community (EDC) a long time ago, the way Verhofstadt treats it, seems to suggest that he has no respect for referendums ór parliamentary decisions made in member-states. This is a man dead set on having things his way, who will brook no interference. Never mind that the EDC would have denied Germany any say over its forces: he who believes that a modern-day European Army, lead by men like Verhofstadt, would be controlled by sovereign member-states, will believe anything. This kind of thinking is dangerous.