Jean-Claude Juncker - A moment for real leadership

Jean-Claude Juncker - A moment for real leadership

Imagining that everything British prime minister Boris Johnson says is untrue may not be an entirely reliable guide even if there is a considerable weight of circumstantial evidence.

Applying the same sort of yardstick, even on the basis of an entirely different principle, to outgoing European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker is equally plausible if indulgent.

That he was so excoriated, occasionally dishonestly, by Brexiteers endeared him to the millions who still hope the European project realises its potential.

An arch federalist, it seemed for a while that everything he said was designed to provoke Brexiteers even if it was no more than a reiteration of the facts of the situation. It is not hard to imagine that he is regarded by the ERG as Johnson is seen by moderate, sane Europeans.

It must be of considerable regret to him that as his five-year term ended that Brexit had become a stone in the EU’s shoe, one that cannot not be so easily removed.

That challenge now falls to former German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen who, hopefully, will be as steadfast as Juncker was in her defence of the basic principles of the EU and the smaller, less powerful member states.

She faces a challenge that Juncker did not.

At a moment when political leadership isso debased the world cries out for a figure who rejects the toxicity of this poisoned, post-truth age.

How uplifting it would be if von der Leyen was that person.

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