Your mission is to defeat Eurosceptics, the EU's most senior judge tells the president of the European Commission
Europe’s most senior judge has told Jean-Claude Juncker that his political mission is to prevent Eurosceptics from trampling on “the fruits of European integration”.
Vassilios Skouris, the president of the Court of Justice, Europe’s highest judicial body, made the extraordinary comments in a ceremony aimed at upholding the political independence of the European Commission.
He instructed Mr Juncker that his “key task” was to prevent the critics of the European Union from reducing the powers of institutions such as the Luxembourg court he oversees, or the commission in Brussels.
“I would like to say a few words about your mission,” Mr Skouris said.
“You are taking up office during the worst financial and economic crisis that Europe has suffered at a time when the European ideal is beset by criticism from Eurosceptic circles. Thus your key task is to prevent the fruits of European integration being trampled in the dust.”
The European Court of Justice is the EU’s highest legal authority and has the power to override governments or strike down national laws that are judged to be in breach of European legislation.
The ECJ’s critics have frequently accused the court and its judges of using judicial means to expand the EU’s powers.
Bill Cash, Conservative MP for Stone and the chairman of the House of Commons European scrutiny select committee, said the comments raised fresh concerns about the judicial impartiality of the EU court.
“These comments make clear the reasons why Eurosceptics are deeply concerned that the impartiality of this court is undermined and compromised by these sorts of political motivations," he said.
Daniel Hannan,Conservative MEP for South East England, said: “We've known for a long time that Euro-judges make things up as they go along, that they're prepared to disregard the plain text of the treaties in pursuit of deeper integration. But for someone to come out and say it so blatantly shows how confident they now are".
The highest levels of EU officialdom have been rattled by victories or major gains for Eurosceptic and populist parties in countries including Britain, France, Spain, Italy, and Greece, following last May’s European elections.
Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip, which came first in Britain’s elections to the European Parliament six months ago, accused the European judge of promoting an “aggressive” political agenda hostile to democracy.
"The ECJ is an aggressive, politicised court with a mission to expand the powers of the EU and crush national democracy,” he said. “When he says the 'fruits of European integration' – does he mean the poverty and unemployment that the euro has engendered for millions?”
Mr Juncker was installed as president of the commission in July with the backing of a coalition of federalist MEPs and after Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, overruled British opposition, humiliating David Cameron.
Mr Skouris, A Greek law professor and former interior minister before becoming the EU’s top judge, urged the new commission president to take an overtly political role in the face of growing Euroscepticism.
“The European Commission is more than ever a political body,” he said. “It is certainly not just a bunch of Eurocrats, as some would have us believe, tainting that word with the worst possible connotations.”
His speech came at a ceremony at the court’s seat in Luxembourg where Mr Juncker and members of his commission, including Lord Hill, Britain’s commissioner, made a “solemn undertaking” to be “completely independent in carrying” out their duties.
Source By Bruno Waterfield, Brussels in The Telegraph
See also / viz. také Petr Mach: "To jsou skandální slova" v "Evropský soudce vyzývá k porážce euroskeptiků" - svobodnenoviny.cz