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Commission dismisses internal document outlining policy plans

The European Commission on Friday said an internal document outlining EU policy ideas — obtained by POLITICO — should be given “zero credence” and is not “mature enough” to make it to President-elect Ursula von der Leyen’s desk.

A 173-page wish list dating from July contains proposals from across the Commission’s departments (or directorates general) for policies ranging from creating a €100 billion wealth fund to bolster “European champions” against American and Chinese business rivals, to putting beehives on public buildings and placing greater restrictions on social media.

“Let me clarify that no such project or plans exist that are mentioned in several articles,” Mina Andreeva, the Commission’s chief spokesperson, told reporters. “Draft internal brainstorming documents from the services should never be confused with policies. The document from the services that you refer to has not even been seen by the political hierarchy of the Commission, nor by the president-elect or her transition team, let alone endorsed in any way,” she said, adding that “this leaked document should therefore be given zero credence.”

Asked why the Commission’s leadership had not looked at a document that involved all directorates general and took EU resources to produce, the spokesperson said that “we have tens of thousands of Commission officials who have certainly bright and good ideas, but nothing is put forward by the Commission without political backing. We are in the run-up to forming a new Commission, and the president-elect has made her priorities clear in the political guidelines which will serve as the guidance for what will follow and what will be put forward to the deliberation of the new College.”

“It’s clearly not a document that was mature enough, since it did not make it, or did not reach neither the Commission nor the president-elect or her transition team,” Andreeva said.

The ideas in the document — including a European Future Fund that would invest more than $100 billion in equity stakes in high-potential European companies, as well as an aggressive new framework to slap tariffs unilaterally on the United States — would put the bloc on a Fortress Europe path against other global powers.

Responding to the plans on Thursday, a spokesperson for von der Leyen said that “nobody in the [president-elect’s] transition team has heard of that mysterious European Future Fund.”

The document suggests other expenditures for the next Commission, outlining plans to consider an EU-wide unemployment insurance program within the first 100 days of the new administration. That scheme, floated by von der Leyen in her maiden speech, could see the EU directly pay benefits to unemployed people.

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