THE ballyhoo over the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the EU Commission has caused merriment and concern in equal measure.
Amusingly, we have learnt that Mr Juncker allegedly likes a tipple of cognac for breakfast, is an ardent Federalist and wants the UK brought into line.
Of course, with the name Juncker, eurosceptics saw an opportunity.
By pronouncing his name with a heavy ‘J’, we were reminded of the infamous Stuka dive-bomber, the Junkers 87.
Although terrifyingly effective against an inferior force, the aircraft had serious flaws when matched against the Spitfire, Hurricane and other Allied fighters.
In Wikipedia, they are described as such: “Poor manoeuvrability and a lack of both speed and defensive armament meant that the Stuka required heavy fighter escort to operate effectively”.
I thought that a rather appropriate analogy.
Anyway, back to the serious business.
Anyone who thought the Prime Minister might puncture Mr Juncker’s fuel tank was living in cloud-cuckoo land. The final outcome underlines how laughable and totally inconceivable any form of renegotiation is.
Chancellor Angela Merkel told a press conference that the drive for ever-closer union would continue unabated and repatriation of powers was out.
She could not have been clearer.
Having lunch with a Spanish diplomat recently, I asked him whether he really believed in a Federalist state.
He looked at me over his lamb and explained that Germany had lent Spain billions of euros.
He paused, as if for effect, before adding: “And, we have spent it!”
The truth is that the eurozone countries are indebted to Germany. They can’t get out even if they wanted to. Germany is terrified we might leave the EU.
So expect the dire warnings from Europe of isolation and economic ruin to grow ever louder.