Juncker saw off the censure motion by the far-right in Parliament, tabled in response to the revelations of the Luxembourg tax deals. Having done so, he set out a call to arms to the Governments of Europe. He addressed Parliament providing details of his investment package and placing responsibility on member states to maximise investment by getting on board with his plan. He said clearly there is no money printing press and member states must step up to the plate, while Europe was an attractive investment option. That the slump was not just financial but also regulatory and there was a need to remove red tape. He set out the shape of a Juncker’s Europe.
Pope Francis was another visitor to Parliament last week he too set out a big vision warning that “As the European Union has expanded, there has been a growing mistrust of citizens toward institutions they regard as aloof, laying down rules that they view as insensitive to individual people’s concerns, if not actually harmful.” He could make the same speech in most member states and directly connect with the majority in each. But the Pope seemed a little out of touch with the modern Granny when he compared Europe to her saying, “We gain a general impression of weariness, of ageing, of Europe as grandmother – no longer agile and lively.” Most modern Irish grandmothers are fit, agile and far from weary and could give master classes to politicians in how to build trust and confidence, while also managing difficult budgets. But I do understand the message and hope that all politicians took note when he said, “The true expression of democracy must not be allowed to collapse in the face of multinational interests which are not universal but…in the service of unseen empires.