EU panic: Guy Verhofstadt admits Brussels facing post-Brexit crisis –‘Risk losing public!’

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The Belgian politician, along with other MEPs, has warned Europe needs to have an “open debate” on what happens after a “transformative year”. Mr Verhofstadt tweeted a link to a letter jointly-written by nine MEPs saying “MEPs are clear”.

He wrote: “MEPs are clear: After a transformative year, Europe needs an open debate on how to reform, or we risk losing the public.”

The letter was penned by MEPs Gabriele Bischoff (S&D), Damian Boeselager (Greens), Pascal Durand (Renew), Daniel Freund (Greens), Danuta Huebner (EPP), Domenec Ruiz Devesa (S&D), Paulo Rangel (EPP), Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL) and Guy Verhofstadt (Renew).

It reads: “We are all happy to leave 2020 behind, but we would be irresponsible not to draw conclusions from its malice.

“The world is a different place, and politics will need to change to cope with that fact.”

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Before adding: “This is a crucial time for EU politics.

“Momentous decisions are being taken, and we stand behind them wholeheartedly.

“But in a democracy you cannot wield and expand power without active engagement of the public.”

Their letter then goes on to claim President-elect Joe Biden is “one person who understands” and say he will “reach out to democratic unbelievers” in the US.

They write: “Fighting corruption, defending human rights, tackling authoritarianism and the fundamental problems underlying its attractions… these are no longer issues one country can deal with on its own.

“They are worldwide problems and the democratic world should come together more effectively to find solutions.”

After saying democracy needs a “shot up the arm”, the MEPs argue the EU has already adapted to some issues it has faced.

They outlined how the bloc plays a “decisive and delicate” role in tacking health crises including the coronavirus pandemic.

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While praising the EU for playing a “major role” in financing economic recovery with the Coronavirus Relief Fund, they acknowledged the bloc has shown “traditional weakness”.

They continued: “On the other hand, the EU has shown traditional weakness in other fields, such as belated sanctions on Belarus’ election thuggery and a bewildering naivety towards China.

“The final compromise on the rule of law guarantee for recovery fund projects also left much to be desired.

“Weakness to carries obligations.

“None of these can go without democratic oversight and public legitimation.

“When policies take a leap forward, democratic politics need to be adapted accordingly.”

They go on to demand a Conference on the Future to be set up to debate on the bigger picture.

They say: “So a two-year debate would be organised as broadly as possible, in time for the EU leaders present and future to draw conclusions before the next elections to the European Parliament in 2024.

“Ursula von der Leyen promised it, the European Council supported it, the European Parliament was enthusiastic to go ahead… and then nothing.”

The MEPs then lashed out at the Council and Commission for “stalling” and argued their fear is a really “bad counsel”.

They ended: “No more excuses, no more delays: the Conference on the Future of Europe needs to start now.”

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