The European Council nominations for leadership of institutions in the European Union signal the bloc is “falling apart at the seams,” Brexit Party MEP Lucy Harris has claimed. EU leaders on Tuesday unveiled their pick of candidates to take over the reins of the top positions in the bloc after weeks of debate among members of the Council. Ms Harris suggested the nominees signal the EU is “panicking” and is attempting to avoid further “cracking” in the bloc by “centralising everything.”
Speaking to talkRADIO, the Brexit Party MEP said: “They are starting to panic because the European Union situation is starting to see some cracks.
“You’ve got situations down in the south of Europe, where you’ve got the Italians trying to launch a new currency, you’ve got the Catalonia problem, you’ve got the Yellow Vests in France.
“It’s starting to fall apart at the seams. When things start to fall apart at the seams, you want to centralise everything around things you can count on and that is their inner circle.”
Italy’s deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and his Lega party economic advisors last month put forward proposals for an alternative currency, the so-called mini-BOT, to work in parallel with the euro to address the increasing deficit in the country.
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French President Emmanuel Macron has been engaged in an ongoing struggle with the anti-establishment Yellow Vest movement over his proposed plans to reform the labour code derived from Napoleonic principles.
And MEPs from across the bloc earlier this week protested the European Parliament’s decision to ban some newly-elected Catalonian representatives amid unresolved tensions between Madrid and the independence-seeking Government in Barcelona.
Ms Harris also condemned the EU leadership nominations, branding them a “stitch-up” as she claimed some of the candidates proposed are “unfit for office.”
She continued: “If you look at how it has been made, it’s been totally stitched up from the very start.
“You’ve got people from the IMF who have actually been convicted of fraud. You’ve got a situation where people who are not fit to be in office – there is now a centralisation of power.”
International Monetary Fund (IMF) boss Christine Lagarde in 2016 was found guilty of criminal charges after French judges found her negligent for failing to challenge a state arbitration payout to a businessman friend to former French President Nicholas Sarkozy.
But despite the verdict, which Ms Largarde denied at the time, the former French Finance Minister was neither handed a sentence nor a fine for her involvement in the scandal.
Ms Lagarde would be taking on the leadership of the European Central Bank (ECB) if the European Parliament chose to confirm her next week. She would become the first ECB president not to have previously served as governor of a national bank and the first woman in the position.
German Defence Minister Ursula von Der Leyen would also become the first woman at the helm of the European Commission if she is selected to succeed current leader Jean-Claude Juncker when he retires in November.
Additional nominations from the Council include interim Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel as head of EU Council after Donald Tusk and Spaniard Josep Borrell as the new EU Foreign Policy chief, taking over from Italian Federica Mogherini.
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The final nominations were the result of weeks of debate among EU leaders after Germany and France failed to agree on who to pick to head the Commission.
The Franco-German alliance appeared to have found common ground with Dutch politician Frans Timmermans but met with the opposition of Italy and the Eastern bloc of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia.
BBC Europe Editor Katya Adler suggested the selection of Mrs von Der Leyen ultimately signalled both President Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel have lost part of the power they had in the Council.
Speaking on Brexitcast, Ms Adler said: “I think what this tells you is France and Germany are, of course, both very powerful in EU circles, but they are no longer all powerful.
“Angela Merkel has got one for out of the political door. Emmanuel Macron is not as influential inside the EU as he wanted to be.
“You have other players really getting their voices heard, and in this case, it was the eastern European countries.”