EU judge gives Jean-Claude Juncker the ‘key task’ of defeating Euroscepticism

Europe’s most senior judge has told Jean-Claude Juncker that his political mission is to prevent Eurosceptics from trampling on “the fruits of European integration”.

Vassilios Skouris, the president of the Court of Justice, Europe’s highest judicial body, made the extraordinary comments in a ceremony aimed at upholding the political independence of the European Commission. He instructed Mr Juncker that his “key task” was to prevent the critics of the European Union from reducing the powers of institutions such as the Luxembourg court he oversees, or the commission in Brussels.

“I would like to say a few words about your mission,” Mr Skouris said. “You are taking up office during the worst financial and economic crisis that Europe has suffered at a time when the European ideal is beset by criticism from Eurosceptic circles. Thus your key task is to prevent the fruits of European integration being trampled in the dust.”

The European Court of Justice is the EU’s highest legal authority and has the power to override governments or strike down national laws that are judged to be in breach of European legislation.

The ECJ’s critics have frequently accused the court and its judges of using judicial means to expand the EU’s powers. Bill Cash, Conservative MP for Stone and the chairman of the House of Commons European scrutiny select committee, said the comments raised fresh concerns about the judicial impartiality of the EU court.

“These comments make clear the reasons why Eurosceptics are deeply concerned that the impartiality of this court is undermined and compromised by these sorts of political motivations,” he said.

Daniel Hannan,Conservative MEP for South East England, said: “We’ve known for a long time that Euro-judges make things up as they go along, that they’re prepared to disregard the plain text of the treaties in pursuit of deeper integration. But for someone to come out and say it so blatantly shows how confident they now are”.

Lees deze column van Bruna Waterfield verder op The Telegraph