The wrong man at the wrong place

European cooperation means Berlin says what Brussels will decide. The new President of the European Commission will be the outcome of an internal compromise between the ruling Christian Democrats and Socialists in Berlin. The current President of the European Parliament, the German Social Democrat Martin Schulz stays on. The German Christian Democrats put forward their Stellvertreter, the former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jan-Claude Juncker. The European Parliament can only say 'yes', while the European Council is dominated by the mood of Mutti Merkel.

Juncker is the least inspiring politician of the ruling European elite; he combines all the 'fifty shades of grey'.  As a full blooded Jesuit, he scorns democratic development. The elite knows better. In April 2011, he said: 'I am a Christian Democrat, a Catholic, but when it becomes serious you have to lie. Yes, I lie because it involves the survival of the euro.' On the referendum, he said: "If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a no, we will say ‘we continue.’" Juncker was totally disgusted and appalled when he lost the election in Luxembourg last year. He fell over a hacking scandal of the Luxembourg security agency, which became public following a leak from the American NSA. He was the only political victim of the NSA scandal. Poor Juncker. But now he returns riding on the powerful wings of the German Christian Democrats. He became their Spitzenkandidat and exclaimed, despite a loss of about 50 seats in the European elections: 'I'm the big winner'.  When it comes to the interpretation of democracy, Jean-Claude is Jean 'Odd Ball' Juncker.

Europe chooses a cynic from the past for its future. I listened to Juncker in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament for four years. He acted as temporary chairman of the Eurogroup. Often Juncker appeared half tipsy before the parliamentary committee, just waffling on. Since lying is his self-proclaimed greatest gift, his words had no weight. Shortly before, his verbal capacities had already been handicapped by a well-groomed lunch with his confidante, MEP Ria Oomen (CDA), at the Conrad Hotel in Brussels. Apparently he appeared frequently in a tipsy state. Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told Pauw & Witteman that Juncker liked to have a glass. That was obviously an understatement. Juncker never walks alone through the corridors of the European institutions.

Luxembourg Presidents of the European Commission leave a wreck. In the early eighties Luxembourg sent Gaston Thorn and then 'euro sclerosis' spread. Thorn was a joke with his habit to take the elevator to his office on the thirteenth floor of the Berlaymont in his tennis clothes. In the nineties, Luxembourg came with Jacques 'aperitif' Santer who got the top position after the failed candidacies of Ruud Lubbers and his Belgian rival Jean-Luc Dehaene. Santer was, as with Juncker, the 'German compromise'. But he had no hold on the French Commissioner Cresson who hired her dentist. The Santer Commission resigned.

Berlin has been using the same pattern in recent years. If a German cannot get the top job, Berlin proposes a Stellvertreter from a country with proven positive reflexes vis-a-vis Germany.

Typically that's Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, Finland, Hungary and the Netherlands sometimes; see Dijsselbloem. If that fails, the person in the top position gets a German chef de cabinet besides him. Commission President Barroso (Portugal) had for years a German chef de cabinet, just like the Italian Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB). In the European Parliament, there's a similar system. The Group of the European Christian Democrats is led by the largest delegation; the German Christian Democrats, the CDU / CSU. They make a deal with the Group of European Socialists, traditionally dominated by the German SPD. The German deal is the 'European deal'.

Juncker is the wrong man at the wrong place at the wrong time. He needs to manage a civil service of 30,000 people while he can barely control himself and has been thrown out by his own countrymen. Russia is advancing, the Middle East is burning, China is a world power and America wants a world order without America. Europe needs to reform internally to survive externally. In response... Europe Appoints Jean 'Odd Ball' Juncker! Europe chooses capitulation.