Are you serious, Mr. Weber?

Manfred Weber, Spitzenkandidat of the conservative EPP for the European election and CSU vice-chairman, opposes the policies of the CDU/CSU-led federal government in Berlin. He calls for an end to the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – is he serious?

The pipeline, which is already under construction, would strengthen the EU’s “dependence on Russian gas,” Weber criticized. As future head of the commission, he would therefore use “all legal means” to stop construction.

The problem: firstly, he has not yet reached his goal, his election victory has become uncertain due to the Brexit chaos. And secondly, a head of the Commission cannot simply ban the pipeline. Jean-Claude Juncker also had reservations, but did not find a way against Nord Stream 2.

Other promises made by Weber at the official start of his election campaign in Athens seem like wishful thinking. Some things do not even fall within the competence of the EU. Here is the fact check:

  • End EU accession talks with Turkey: Promising this in Athens of all places is piquant – because Greece is sticking to the prospect of accession in order to integrate its unpredictable neighbour. – The heads of state and government have the last word anyway, not the EU Commission. It can only recommend.
  • Extend border protection to 10,000 men by 2022: A cheap, populist promise that not even Weber’s party colleague Horst Seehofer – the Federal Minister of the Interior – can and will keep. In addition, the EU states have only just committed themselves to 2027 – and they have the last word.
  • Abolish a thousand EU regulations: Not even Weber’s party colleague Edmund Stoiber, who worked in Brussels for a long time, managed to do that – as a bureaucracy commissioner. In addition, Weber worked for years as head of the EPP parliamentary group on the tangled web of EU rules and laws. He prevented or dismantled nothing at all.
  • Master plan against cancer, international treaty against plastic waste in the seas, international ban on child labour: the EU is not responsible for all this. Weber promises a lot of things that he could not even deliver if he were Chancellor…

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