And now for some light amusement amidst this week of controversy and crisis, let’s cross live to the European Union, where an important battle is taking place over what’s in a name:
Change the title or change the job.
That was the message from senior members of the European Parliament to Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday on her plan to appoint a European Commission vice president for “protecting the European way of life.”
Leaders of the center-left and liberal groups in Parliament said after meeting the Commission’s incoming chief that they couldn’t accept a post with that title overseeing migration policy, as von der Leyen plans.
Critics have accused von der Leyen of adopting the language of the far right and implying that protecting Europe means keeping out migrants. The German Christian Democrat has so far stuck with her plan, arguing that the job will protect the EU’s core values and that the political mainstream should not surrender language to extremists…
After the meeting of group chiefs with von der Leyen at the Parliament in Strasbourg, Iratxe García, leader of the center-left Socialists and Democrats, said her bloc would not back the job in its current form.
“We have a serious problem with linking the ‘protection of the European Way of Life’ with migration, and we won’t accept the title as it is,” said García, whose group is the second biggest in the Parliament.
Dacian Cioloș, leader of the Renew Europe group of liberals and centrists, said he proposed changing Schinas’ remit or at least changing the “mission letter” from von der Leyen that sets out his tasks. He said von der Leyen’s explanation of the job “didn’t convince.”
How about a European Commission vice president for diluting the European way of life?
Interestingly, Renew Europe, which won’t question any migrant’s attachment to the European way of life, will definitely question the European Commission members’ attachment to European values:
Renew Europe chief Cioloș said integrity would be a key criterion for his group when it comes to assessing the nominees.
“We can’t allow ourselves to nominate commissioners who then will have to deal with legal cases,” he said.
He said his group would also look at the nominees’ attachment to European values, their competence and vision for their portfolio and the “compatibility between the person, the profile and the letter of mission.”
“If they don’t have [an] expressed clear attachment to European values, there is no place for them in the European Commission,” he declared.
That’s really closing the borders around the European Commission. Doesn’t that go against European values?