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Wednesday 3 July 2019  

Unusually, today’s edition of Brexit Brunch drifts away from the Tory leadership contest to Brussels, where EU leaders have finally settled on their choices to take over from Jean-Claude Juncker et al.

Juncker’s successor will be Germany’s defence minister Ursula von der Leyen, a passionate Euro-federalist mad for a European army.

Von der Leyen’s fellow Eurofanatics at the Gaurdian have done their homework, uncovering a strong anti-Brexit sentiment. She once described British independence as a “burst bubble of hollow promises… inflated by populists”.

Presumably however, Von der Leyen has few qualms about her colleague Horst Seehofer at the CDU’s sister party in Bavaria, the CSU taking a hard line on immigration in order to combat Alternativ für Deutschland.

“They had promised that Britain would benefit from Brexit,” said Von der Leyen last year. “The fact is today that Brexit is a loss for everyone.” It is for Germany, which enjoys a £20bn plus trade surplus with the United Kingdom.

Seeing her lock horns with Boris Johnson should be entertaining.

Other picks are mega-globalist Christine Lagarde, who was wheeled out as head of the IMF by David Cameron to scorn leaving the EU during in the run-up to the referendum. Not exactly the most reputable spokesperson though, Lagarde was charged with negligence later that year, and convicted (see below).

Belgium’s acting prime minister, Charles Michel will take over from Donald Tusk. He is the third person to occupy the role and the second Belgian. The EU doesn’t do diversity, despite crowing constantly about progressive values. Michel is an improvement in the blandness stakes on his compatriot Herman Van Rompuy, more maître d of a posh restaurant than “low-grade bank clerk”, but that’s not saying much.

Spain’s foreign minister, Josep Borrell will occupy the same role at the European Commission. Borrell famously wrought more concessions out of Theresa May over Gibraltar, which helps to explain why he’s been given one of the top jobs. He also participated in shady dealings with George Soros after Italy’s Matteo Salvini refused entry of a migrant ship, which was then suspiciously diverted to Spain and accepted.

A motley crew, but what would else would you expect, this is the EU…