A look at von der Leyen’s poor track record

By Miguel Nunes Silva

In Brussels Report

George Orwell once said: “Truth is Treason in an Empire of Lies”. In a bureaucracy which is geared towards meeting procedural goals rather than consequential ones, incompetence becomes currency. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is a perfect example of this.

For a long time, the EU institutions have specialised in failing to complete military missions (EULEXALTHEA) apart from engaging in all kinds of open-ended progressive policies. This is because it is their goal is to acquire ever more competences from the member-states. The EU would lose powers if it ever actually achieved is targets. Therefore, it is – perversely – not in the interests of the fonctionnaires to be particularly effective in their jobs. It is also why any mention of repatriation of competences drives Brussels into a fury, as it also warrants accusations of ‘populism’ or ‘extremism’.

It is only by understanding this state of affairs that one can possibly fathom the candidacy of Ursula von der Leyen to a second term as President of the European Commission.

Von der Leyen’s track record over the last 5 years really amounts to a series of unmitigated disasters:

  1. She utterly failed to forge a close partnership with the UK, whereby the second largest economy of the continent left the bloc;
  2. Not content with antagonising the Brits over the exit negotiations, the Commission has been sectarian in its treatment of Hungary and Poland, strengthening the anti-Brussels activists in these countries and bolstering the case for their disassociation. Slovakia now seems to the next on the list;
  3. Instead of improving the lives of Europeans, they are now confronted with a weaker Euro and increasing inflation, namely in crucial areas such as energy and food;
  4. The latter has also led to an unprecedented divorce between the institution and European farmer,s who have been protesting all around the continent against the Commission’s Green Deal and Ukraine policies which are seen as intent on killing the primary sector altogether;
  1. Speaking of Ukraine, the Commission chose to get involved in a war outside its purview, mobilising billions to side with Kiev in its conflict with Russia. Not only is Ukraine not a member of the EU or NATO, it was not even a candidate at the start of the war. The return on investment would have been next to zero regardless of the outcome of the war, given that Ukraine’s economy would not have recovered for decades but worse still, the war has cost the EU dearly in associated financial losses from its voluntary and arbitrary commercial sanctions;
  2. Going on its 13thsanctions package, one cannot help but wonder how many more will have to be approved before someone in the Berlaymont pauses, takes stock and decides to opt for empiricism instead. Russia’s economy barely saw a dent and is now growing. The Ruble has remained stable, and following the freezing of Russian assets in Western banks, its sovereign fund is again increasing. The sanctions have not only left Europe without its cheapest energy options but also with fewer energy providers and have considerably strengthened smuggling and stock market speculation;
  3. The Commission was feverishly adamant in its condemnation of the Russian aggression in Ukraine, channeling its diplomatic financial and commercial resources against the Kremlin. Yet, when the EU’s biggest economy Germany – and one of the biggest bilateral backers of the Kiev regime – saw its Nordstream gas pipeline sabotaged, Brussels was strangely quiet. No histrionic condemnations, no accusatory investigations, no retaliatory sanctions… the most bizarre of silences which could be confused for compromised acquiescence
  4. Ursula von der Leyen often complains about the rise of the far-Right, but the Commission’s policies on immigration are some of the biggest causes of this growth – not to mention von der Leyen’s longtime political ally Angela Merkel’s faults on the matter. The recently approved Pact on Migration and Asylum does not stress deportation or quotas, let alone penalties for governments that use mass migration as a political weapon for replacement and electioneering;
  1. While the Commission cannot be directly blamed for much of the pandemic insanity, von der Leyen came personally under fire for corruption suspicions in her dealings with Big Pharma;
  2. The German politician chose to be pragmatic concerning Azerbaijan and to close her eyes to Baku’s less than pristine record regarding its treatment of Armenia and Armenians. This may help EU interests but it also completely undermines her own narrative on Russia and Israel;
  3. Additionally, regular Europeans have had to endure increased censorship online, thanks to the policies of the Commission on the matter, either conspiring with Big Tech or antagonising it, in order to muzzle people further and further, especially when the Right is concerned, in enforcing compliance with the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA).

None of this should come as a surprise considering von der Leyen’s career.

As has been common with Brussels appointments, Ursula von der Leyen was not selected for her competence or expertise.

In her home country of Germany, she came to prominence when she became a CDU Minister in Merkel’s 2005 cabinet. She embodied Merkel’s turn to the Left with gay marriage, mass immigration and minimum wage policies as well as institutionalised sexism in the form of feminist affirmative action laws for the corporate world.

Was Germany better served with Marxist family policies? Well, it is subjective to assess but the Federal Republic certainly did not see a rise in native marriages or birthrates. Overall safety, of course, much deteriorated.

It was in 2013 that she garnered international attention by becoming Defence Minister; nonexistent qualifications for such a technical job, notwithstanding. Did she do well? Not in the slightest.

The consensus is that she left Germany’s armed forces in as sorry a state as she found them. Worse still, she was the target of investigations related to her tendency to skirt the rules of public tenders, to the benefit of multinational consultancies.

The key to understanding the rise of Ursula von der Leyen is in coming to terms with the political marketing logic that operates in Brussels. Is it really that disconcerting that perception takes precedence over reality in a city that lives off politics?

Since deindustrialisation and replacement are some of the goals that the Brussels bubble silently encourages – exemplified by its funding of extremist NGOs and QuaNGOs – in their logic, von der Leyen has not been an abysmal failure, but has instead been moderately successful. From the perspective of technocratic sectarianism, instead of national interest, her actions are actually quite logical.

In any case, it may be best keep such ‘achievements’ on the downlow until after the June EP elections, lest the European citizenry learn of how much more ”success” they stand to face in the coming 5 years.

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