EU chief: parliament critics “didn’t suffer enough in war”

Amazing scenes this week as the European Parliament’s president, Spanish socialist Josep Borrell, hit back at the one million European voters who signed a petition demanding an end to the monthly farce that is Strasbourg sittings.  The practise of shifting all MEPs, staff and papers from Brussels to the French city every few weeks and then straight back again costs European taxpayers €200million per year.  Unsurprisingly, even euro-fanatics want this silliness ended.

Borrell however wants it to continue.  At the signing ceremony to mark the purchase of the Parliament from the city, Borrell hit out at the Swedish MEP behind the idea for the petition.  Alluding to Sweden’s neutrality during the war, he said, “this historic dimension cannot be perceived in the same way in ‘some Nordic country’ which did not participate in WWII”. 

Suggesting that the Swedes can’t criticise the EU’s waste of money on having two parliamentary seats because they didn’t fight in the Second World War is obviously a bit strange – not very pro-European of Borrell.  Understandably, the Swedes have gotten a little stroppy.  An editorial in Dagens Nyheter said, “Borrell doesn’t say how much suffering is required for a person’s vote to count”, while a columnist in Svenska Dagbladet wrote, “Borrell didn’t fight in the war himself – he was born in 1947”.  They seem pretty moody about it.

On top of Borrell’s strange criteria for who can and cannot give their views on EU reform, the biggest group of people on the petition are Dutch.  They had a bit of a rough time in the 40s, so even if Borrell is right, the petition still stands.


7 Responses to EU chief: parliament critics “didn’t suffer enough in war”

  1. HenryG says:


    I see Jack Straw is reverting back to type. Queue favourible right-wing media headlines of support and a doomed deputy leadership bid.

  2. Ian G says:

    Funny, that’s pretty much what I thought as well.

  3. Nick says:

    Extraordinary remarks. I have to say that I’ve yet to meet the first party member who’s planning to vote for Straw…

  4. Ian G says:

    Also O/T, I see that our Ken has had his four week suspension from office quashed by the High Court!

  5. Go on, then. I’ll vote for him.

    Does this mean one of us gets a prize?

  6. Al Dee says:

    I actually sympathise with Jack Straw’s comments. It is difficult to have a conversation with someone in a mask. More to the point Islam doesn’t require women to wear a burka or veil so why do it? especially in a country like the UK where relations are tense. Well done Jack!

  7. fredrik says:

    The Swedish MEP has by the way become Swedish Minister of EU Affairs today.

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