Brexiters routinely underestimate the resilience of the European project and overstate their own importance on the continentThere is a common misperception among British Eurosceptics that the EU is as obsessed with obstructing Brexit as they are with completing it. That is untrue in two ways. First, the priority in Brussels is to facilitate the UK’s orderly departure. There was a phase of grief, but that has mostly given way to frustration at British politicians’ collective ineptitude – remainers as well as leavers. Second, EU eyes are mostly elsewhere. Last week saw the beginning of confirmatory hearings for Ursula von der Leyen’s new commission. Corruption allegations led to two nominees – from Hungary and Romania – being rejected as unfit by a European parliamentary vetting committee even before public scrutiny had begun. Since the commission reflects the delicate balance of political forces in the legislature, any striking down of candidates risks provoking retaliation. The requirement to secure MEPs’ consent for Ms von der Leyen’s administration means Brexit is not the only issue coming to a head at the end of October.
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