Not another one! Now Verhofstadt launches no-confidence campaign in EU’s von der Leyen

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The move was prompted by Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt who is urging his colleagues in the European Parliament to call into question Mrs von Der Leyen’s leadership after she approved recovery funds to Poland.

In a letter to MEPs, Mr Verhofstadt said the Commission “blatantly disregarded Parliament resolutions” on Poland’s capabilities to follow EU rules.

He wrote: “The Commission decided to give a positive assessment, in blatant disregard of several Parliament resolutions, several ECJ rulings, and dissent within the College, as five key Commissioners publicly doubt whether the so called milestones are sufficient to comply with the ECJ rulings.

“Moreover these Commissioners fear that implementation will not be rigorously verified by the Commission.

“The Commission is fully aware that the remedies announced by the Polish authorities are purely cosmetic.”

He continued: “The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties, responsible for the application of EU law under the control of the European Court of Justice.

“The EU Values are a fundamental cornerstone of the Union and are not for sale.

“If the von der Leyen Commission no longer fulfils its role as guardian of the Treaties, Parliament should withdraw its confidence.”

The EU’s executive Commission froze access to the funds for Hungary and Poland over their nationalist governments’ track record of undercutting liberal democratic rules by restricting the rights of migrants, gays and women, as well as increasing state control over media and the courts.

Hungary is working to reach an agreement with the European Union by the end of the year on gaining access to billions of euros worth of pandemic recovery funding.

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Mr Verhofstadt’s call comes as in the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also faces a vote of no confidence this evening.

Mr Johnson, who won a sweeping election victory in 2019, has been under growing pressure after he and staff held alcohol-fuelled parties at the heart of power when Britain was under strict lockdowns to tackle COVID-19.

He was met with a chorus of jeers and boos, and some muted cheers, at events to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth in recent days.

On Monday, the Prime Minister was also attacked by one-time ally Jesse Norman, a former junior minister who said the Conservative leader staying in power insulted both the electorate and the party.

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“You have presided over a culture of casual law-breaking at 10 Downing Street in relation to COVID,” he said, adding the government had “a large majority, but no long-term plan”.

Mr Norman is one of a growing number of Conservative lawmakers to publicly say that Johnson, 57, has lost his authority to govern Britain, which is facing the risk of recession, rising prices and strike-inflicted travel chaos in the capital London.

Jeremy Hunt, a former health minister who ran against Johnson for the leadership in 2019, said the party knew it was letting the country down. “Today’s decision is change or lose,” he said. “I will be voting for change.”

Mr Johnson’s anti-corruption champion John Penrose quit. “I think it’s over. It feels now like a question of when not if,” he told Sky News when asked about Mr Johnson’s future.

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