EU Critique & Commentary

The leaders of the 3 main political groups in the European Parliament (EPP, S&D, ALDE) made a commitment that the next elected President of the European Commission has to be the result of a transparent process, not the product of back-room deals. For outsiders of the Brussels bubble this statement looks like a declaration of political good will, showing a great respect for the “expectations of the European citizens” as they call it themselves. If this declaration wasn’t an unprecedented proof of deception of the public, it would be worth laughing out loud.

In the first place, if only half of the Europeans with voting rights to elect Parliament use this right in May, it would be surprising. As we know from surveys, the majority of citizens using their right to vote are not interested at all in the next President of the Commission, let alone knowing names of candidates. They use the opportunity to express their opinion about national politics. The 3 leaders know that of course; feigning that the “expectations of the European citizens” are their concern is pure hypocrisy.

Secondly, each of the 3 groups has its candidate for the Commission Presidency; one of these three leaders is even a candidate himself, ALDE’s Guy Verhofstadt. Pretending to have a common interest for after the election is another demonstration of hypocrisy. Look at the EPP, supported by ALDE, who tried recently to ‘kill’ the S&D candidate for the Commission Presidency and current President of the EP, Martin Schulz, by accusing him of “obstruction of the work of the budgetary control committee, trying to cover his tracks by misusing the parliament’s rules…”. It makes you think of a Shakespeare drama.

Last but not least: what’s really missing in the joint declaration of these 3 leaders is a pledge that the next President of their own Parliament will be elected “in a transparent process and not be the product of back-room deals’. Traditionally, with some exceptions, the EPP and S&D agree that each of them hold the EP Presidency for half of the five year term; ALDE support this often and it is easy to imagine that the Liberals are compensated for it. And this all happens in back-rooms…

May be we have reasons to be glad that the European citizens don’t know much about what’s going on in European politics.

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