As world leaders begin the second day of talks at the G7 summit in Cornwall, Brexiteers are angry that European Union (EU) representatives Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel – presidents of the European Commission and Council respectively – have a seat at the table.
While the EU is not one of the seven countries (that’s the UK, France, Italy, Canada, US, Germany and Japan), the trading bloc has been invited as a guest alongside leaders from Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa to discuss issues such as the coronavirus pandemic and climate change. The United Nations have been invited in a similar capacity.
Despite the prime minister inviting these extra countries to “intensify cooperation between the world’s democratic and technologically advanced nations”, Leave voters are still upset that the EU presidents are walking on the sandy coast of Cornwall.
Thankfully, there are people on Twitter to take down some of their arguments, and we’ve rounded up some of the best ones below.
1. They were elected, actually…
@newjonnyberlin Actually they were both elected by the European Parliament. Which at the time included British MEPs.
Making a return from the 2016 referendum debate, people are still arguing that the presidents are unelected, which isn’t exactly true.
As the European Parliament website states: “Member states nominate a candidate for the post [of president of the European Commission, but] … Parliament needs to approve the new Commission president by an absolute majority (half of the existing MEPs plus one).”
Meanwhile, the European Council president is elected by its members, who are leaders of the member countries.
While we may not be the ones casting the votes in either instance, the people who are, are people whom we’ve voted for – either directly (in the case of MEPs), or indirectly (in terms of the UK prime minister, as we vote for constituency MPs). At this point, the ‘unelected’ argument gets a little bit hazy.
2. Okay, but if you’re really upset about unelected officials, then what about the Queen?
Brexiteers are now moaning about Ursula von der Leyen being at the #G7Summit2021 because she is not elected. They… https://t.co/wJxTkSARdz
People angry about Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel’s attendance may have forgotten that the Queen, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall held a royal reception for the world leaders on Friday, and they are simply born into the Royal Family.
If someone’s going to have a go about the EU being represented by ‘unelected bureaucrats’, then they should really look a little closer to home.
3. The Eden Project would not have existed without EU funding
#G7 were hosted at the Eden Project
£26 million of the £56 million used to fund the Eden Project came from the EU… https://t.co/BgzXvzpgiz
Oh, and that royal reception took place at the Eden Project, by the way – an initiative which was funded in part by the European Union.
According to the project’s official website, £37.5 million was given to them by the Millennium Commission, while other funders included the Southwest Regional Development Agency and the EU. Around £50 million was contributed between them, with more than half (£26 million) from the EU towards capital funding.
4. They’ve been invited to the G7 for decades
Sometimes one wonders if people are only taking issue with the EU after we’ve left the bloc, as the European Union has been invited along to the G7 since 1977 without the furore we’re currently seeing from Brexiteers.
The EU’s first time attending the summit was also at a point when the UK was hosting. Then-Commission president Roy Jenkins attended what was the third G7 summit, taking place in London.
If the EU can attend decades of summits without an issue, then their invitation to come along to this year’s G7 shouldn’t be a problem.
5. If we’re unhappy with the EU being invited along, we could just leave the G7 too
EU representatives have been present at G7 meetings for 3 decades now.
If you don’t like it the UK could always ju… https://t.co/DE6Om1ENSi
After all, look how easy that was to do last time, right?
We’re not sure if G6 has quite the same ring to it, though, or if we can put up with another exhausting political campaign to leave a multi-national body. We don’t think Brenda from Bristol could put up with it either.
So perhaps the best solution is to let them all crack on – it’s not like they’re discussing important international policies or anything…