So just where is Jean-Claude Juncker, the unelected and unaccountable head of the European Commission? I know, I know, as if anyone really cares.
Still, as Europe plunges into its greatest crisis since the end of World War II and tries to deal with a migrant invasion that is pulling at its very fabric, one would expect him to be at the ramparts and providing some sort of reasonable impersonation of dynamic leadership.
If you expected that, then you would be wrong. Juncker has been largely silent since he gave his bizarrely-titled State of the Union address last week. You remember, the one where he planted a lavish kiss on the forehead of President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz.
Maybe his silence is due to the fact that he is a little busy with meetings right now. Can’t come to the phone. He’s being held in a witness protection programme. He had to pop out and pick up his dry cleaning. All of the above.
We do know he tweeted a triumphal note after a telephone chat with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday. Seems they both agreed on the need to keep Europe’s borders open. Something must be done and all that.
I just spoke w/ Chancellor Merkel. We agree: to keep borders open between EU-MS, we need more Europe & solidarity in managing #refugeecrisis
— Jean-Claude Juncker (@JunckerEU) September 13, 2015
Just a few hours later Juncker’s spokesman took up the same line. He came out from under his desk and tweeted the importance of everyone hanging together in the migrant crisis.
No sooner had those messages of inspiration gone out than Germany did the opposite and closed its overland gateways to Austria. A host of other countries have followed suit and the Schengen guarantee of borderless travel is no more.
We see Slovakia imposing controls on its borders with Hungary and Austria. The Netherlands is making spot checks at its frontiers. Other EU states from Sweden to Poland say they are monitoring the situation to decide whether controls are needed and Hungary has sent troops and police to its main crossing with Serbia to seal that entrance for good.
Europe is in total disarray. Thanks to Angela Merkel’s unilateral decision to accept all of Syria’s migrants it looks like being in chaos for a long time to come.
The silence of Jean-Claude Juncker is noticeable – and some might say a blessed relief – but it does pose the question: Just what is the whole bloody point of the EU again?
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