The citizens of the EU have now for the first time seen what amounts to a manifesto from the potential EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen.

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Just a couple of weeks ago almost no-one outside of Germany had heard of Ursula von der Leyen or knew what she stood for.

But she is now poised to be elected to take the place of Jean-Claude Juncker as the head of the EU Commission.

We suddenly find ourselves having her forced on us by the EU Council, despite the EU Parliament political parties having gone through the Spitzenkandidaten lead candidates process.

No-one knew what she would be aiming to do if she became the most powerful person in the EU and her so-called 'selection' was conducted in secret.

Compare that to the level of scrutiny that both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are under during their jousting for the keys to Number Ten.

No, the only thing that stands between her and the Presidency of the EU Commission is a vote by MEPs in the EU Parliament tonight, where hers is the one and only name on the ballot paper.

And this morning she gave a speech to MEPs laying out her plans to them for the first time.

And be in no doubt, if she is accepted by a majority of MEPs tonight, then that speech is the EU manifesto over the next five years.

And her first move will be to effectively tell EU member states who their Commissioners will be.

Now, I fully support gender equality, but by insisting that member states must put forward candidates based on gender and not ability as decided by the government of the member state, is surely wrong.

The rest of her speech sounds like a pure power grab over such things as employment, foreign policy, defence, education, healthcare and taxes, including a new carbon tax.

The whole thing also reads like something from a communist play-book, so the lefties will be so pleased.

With the possible exception of where she talks about strengthening the EU border with 10,000 more border staff by 2024 at the latest. But she threw the open border types a sweetener by saying that she'd put in place a humane border and propose a new pact on migration and asylum.

She also wants to make foreign policy subject to the Qualified Majority Voting system, so that a foreign policy initiative cannot be vetoed by one member state.

This would remove the ability of a member state, such as the UK, to operate independently on the world stage in any capacity and would, as a result, effectively hand over control of our armed and defence forces to the EU.

She will also have got the green lobby on her side with a call to increase the CO2 reduction target from 40% to 50 or even 55% by 2030 – and that's now only ten years away.

Now one snippet that some have missed is her reference to a new EU-wide Rule of Law Mechanism, which she fully supports.

This mechanism is designed to ensure that member states obey and comply with the EU Treaties.

There are already such devices in place, which can lead to the removal of voting rights of countries found to have sufficiently transgressed. I wonder if France will fall into this bracket soon with its treatment of the yellow vests.

But a report came out earlier this year that recommended that "…the EU should introduce a conditionality clause into its budget in the implantation of Cohesion Policy, so that the allocation of funds is subject to the benefiting State not infringing the Union's values, including the rule of law".

So, disobey the treaties and it's no money or voting for you.

I also learned from the report that, although all EU members states have to sign up to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the EU itself has not done so despite it being a requirement of the Lisbon Treaty, which was signed up to almost a decade ago.

And the reason the EU hasn't done so is that in the view of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), to sign up to the ECHR "… was liable to upset the underlying balance of the EU and undermine the autonomy of EU law".

And there have been many statements and legal opinions over this in the ensuing years but the EU as a body has still not signed up to the ECHR.

So it's OK for citizens to take their member states to the ECHR for redress, but oddly not the EU itself.

Anyway, the central message is that the EU has decided to give the top EU job to someone with an ultra federalist programme that has remained under wraps until the very last moment.

How very democratic – in the normal EU fashion.

Sources:

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/speech_19_4230

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2019/608856/IPOL_STU(2019)608856_EN.pdf

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/legislative-train/theme-area-of-justice-and-fundamental-rights/file-completion-of-eu-accession-to-the-echr

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