Europarl: Ann Widdecombe furore

Anna van Densky OPINION The passionate speech of British MEP Ann Widdecombe had a highly unpleasant  novelty for the European Union: the doyen of Brexit party political group associated the protracted process of exiting from the EU with national liberation movement. She openly threw into face of Guy Verhofstad – the European Parliament representative for Brexit talks – the accusation of treating the UK as “colony“.

Guy Verhofstadt answered in via his Twitter micro blog, regarding Widdecombe as a “clown”. It means he failed again to understand souverainist’s influence on public opinion, and the interaction between Brexit party (former UKIP) and larger groups of electorate, initially perceived as “marginal“, but in reality numerous enough to impose Brexit referendum, and win its outcome. Verhofstadt did not answer to in a meaningful way to Widdecombe criticism of democratic deficit in EU procedures either. He also didn’t answer to her criticism of protracted withdrawal process, comparing Brussels to metropole, reluctant to give away rip on its rich colony.  However the strategy of brushing off criticism of Brexiteers is in essence myopic because it allows their vision to hover high, and spread around engaging new groups, and not only from UK electorate, but the other old EU member states.

The feeble attempt of BBC journalist to argue Ms.Widdecombe’s point of  view through pointing at her high MEP salary incomparable with “slave” status looked like faux pas.

BBC did not manage to address the issue, and attempt, dabbed by the MEP as “silly”, just re-enforcing her speech, demonstrating absence of meaningful counter-argument.

 

 

EU elections 2019 final day

Anna van Densky On Sunday May 26 Europeans vote in an election expected to further erode traditional Eurocentric parties and boost the nationalist movements across the continent, resulting in a drastically different and difficult composition of the European Parliament – once a champion of compromise, – effecting the entire range of politics. (Image above: European Parliament, Strasbourg).

Polls opened at 7 A.M. (0400 GMT) in the east of Europe and will finally close at 11 P.M. (2100 GMT) in Italy. Seven states have already voted, with 21 joining in on Sunday in what is the world’s biggest democratic exercise after India.

Many feel it is odd, that three years after the referendum, Britons are back to the European Parliament, and there are certain fears, that the entire EU political agenda will be “hijacked” by Brexit.

However it is universally understood, that after Brexit the EU project will never be the same. Departure of the oldest European parliamentary democracy feels like an amputation.

EU in transit. Tempora mutantur – times are changed, we also are changed with them.

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European Parliament, PHS building, Brussels

 

#Brexit: pessimism reigns in Europarl

Anna van Densky OPINION The European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy VERHOFSTADT (Belgium, ALDE) cancelled his press-conference, so did his major ally – Esteban GONZALES-PONS (Spain EPP). There are no traces of optimism in the corridors of power in spite of British Prime Minister Theresa MAY the last minute spontaneous visit to Strasbourg, attempting to obtain compromises on the Article 50 Agreement.

However the legally-binding interpretations of Brexit deal will be hardly enough to convince the Westminster to accept it in tonight’s vote.

In case of voting down the Article 50 Agreement the relations between the EU and UK will be entering the uncharted waters, as Prime Minister May has stated already. The extension of the deadline (March 29) is possible in the framework of the agreed Brexit only to avoid legal vacuum. The Remainers already threaten to sue their government in the European Court (CURIA) for breaching the Article 50, which clearly describes the timetable, and does not foresee any prolongations.

Originally there were two fixed deadlines: Brexit date on March 29, and the latest date of its possible extension on May 24 (European elections), before which the UK should leave, or it is obliged to participate, according to the Treaties to ensure the right of the citizens to elect their representatives to the European Parliament. In any case the status of the incumbent MEPs could not be extended beyond July 2, when the newly elected Parliament will be constituted.

However there are very few politicians eager to model possible developments in case tonight of House of Commons will vote down the deal. It will be not only the downfall for Theresa May, and her government, but also considered as a major failure for the EU27 to secure orderly Brexit, preserving from blow economies, jobs, and citizens rights. The  failure will certainly reflect on upcoming European elections disfavoring predominant political forces, unable to preserve mutually beneficial relations with one of major European economies.

 

Amorphous Macron’s LaREM in identity crisis?

Anna van Densky OPINION All new political parties and movements, who have not yet declared their intentions are categorised as “other” in the first chart of the European Parliament projection for the composition of the upcoming in May 2019 assembly. The Movement of the President of France Emmanuel Macron LaRem is among “others” – the political entities, who have not decided upon their political family 100 days before the European elections.

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Monsieur Macron has an ambition to lead Europe, but he is not able to decide his political color?... An identity crisis or “felix culpa”?

The European Parliament has published a first set of projections on how the next chamber would look like based on national polling data taken up to the beginning of February 2019.

However Macron’s LaREM “En Marche” is not the only”amorphous” European political entity: the other indecisive congregation is the Italian Five Star Movement  (M5S) also labeled with grey color on the chart. However one should not conclude that the grey color in Europe is a disadvantage: Europeans have a penchant for grey since it was noted once upon a time by Marquis de Custine. And even within grey they are able to distinguish many sophisticated shades:)

Undoubtedly there will be voters dropping ballots for amorphous entities, which allow them to stay in grey  zone of comfort, avoiding clear choice between classical political right and left, but in the end with the UK leaving the bloc, the identity crisis of the President of France political party is not a major challenge for the EU27. The turn out will be the major indicator for the life expectancy of the bloc. Will it stay or decline? Up to the European to decide.

#MeTooEP side effects

While the progressive part of the European Parliament enthusiastically welcomes #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment at work place it is right time to mention it’s overlooked side effects. First of all, only very naive souls could believe that the movement is a universal remedy of the problem. It is sufficient to take a close-up  to understand that so far #MeToo had very selective implications.

While some reputations and businesses are in ashes, the others, wanted by police, enjoy impunity. Since March 1977 film director Roman Polanski has been avoiding justice in his Parisian ‘refuge’ unattainable for FBI, protected by a French state, and a number of celebrities, considering themselves above laws reflecting “mediocre‘ morality.

However they are not only Bohemian personalities, who insist on deviation from laws, and unconventional perception of good and evil. The Minister of Culture of the V Republic, Fédéric Mitterand was questioned in a special program of French TV channel, requesting explanations of his involvements in sexual relations with boys  in Thailand, described in his book “Mauvaise vie” ‘ (The Bad life).  The Minister managed to keep his job, in spite of the public indignation of his so-called “fantasies” of Bangkok brothels.  The controversy around the book uplifted it to best-seller status to benefit of the author, encouraging him to continue  his  spicy publications. In his diaries “La Récréation” Mitterand  enjoyed sexual outlook towards politics while being a minister: struck by the “physical beauty” of then prime minister François Fillon and diving into fantasies of another minister, Laurent Wauquiez.                     

From condemned Hollywood lustful filmmakers, to obsessed by sexual fantasies provocative ministers, – the defenders of morality have a considerable challenge in absence of a ‘benchmark‘ of admissible within different cultures and subcultures, confronted with subjective assessments of victims, pointing at abuse, and insisting on protection from sexual advances at work place.

Word against word. A common contemporary practice of sexual scandals, rocking US politics entered the European Parliament with opening a special blog on sexual harassment for the employees.  In case a verbal statement is sufficient to trigger the accusation as it happens in the US , any politician at any given moment can face a provocation, aiming at destruction of his reputation – a hidden shredder, which can be brought in action suddenly.

How will the Members of the European Parliament react to defend themselves from possible provocations in ruthless jungle of politics? The answers are on the surface: first, to avoid employment of candidates without references, and avoid employing young people, whose looks might be considered as seductive. At present we can expect a number of #MeToo scandals shuttering European elections, some tears, some juicy publications and some ruined reputations. But learning from this drama, the newly elected MEPs pursuing safety will certainly employ mainly their relatives, and friends, and in case it is impossible to find a needed expert among them, opt for wrinkled candidates of advanced age.  And… warm welcome to Quasimodos!

Orban: lion’s uproar

Farewell l to a shy and clumsy man with blushing cheeks, –Viktor Orban, whom once president Juncker was jokingly slapping and calling  the“dictator”.

The times of jokes are over, and there are no traces of shyness left.

Vikor Orban showed his true self, answering to the adoption of the Article 7 European Parliament resolution with the lion’s uproar, reminding to the EU of a power of a democratically elected leader of a nations state.

The clash between nation and supranational construction as the European Union has never been so dramatic – it is the first time in the history of the bloc that Members of the European Parliament voted to reprimand a state for its independent policy, while Hungarians openly called the action a “revenge” for reluctance to follow the EU migration strategy opening arms to flows of illegals on humanitarian grounds.

Formally the Resolution based on Socialist MEP Judith Sargentini report accuses Hungary of disrespect and violations of human rights.

Elected upon the resistance of the Hungarians to follow
French and German model of hosting flows of illegal migrants from Africa and Middle East, Orban holds mandate from Hungarian nation
to protect “Europan Chrisitan values“, and insists that when
his country joined the club of nations nobody ever mentioned
a obligation to abandon protection of the EU outside borders,
and massively accept illegals.

Orban positioned himself a as true defender of “European values”,
unlike his opponents, who flooded Europe with descendants from
other civilizations carrying different, and often conflicting
with the modern European lifestyle views.

So far Orban didn’t react upon Nigel Farageinvitation” to follow the UK path and show back to the EU. On multiple occasions Orban underlined Hungarians are the most loyal Europeans and they sill believe in the EU, so at present they don’t consider the exit scenario.

In spite of Orban‘s intentions to ‘make peace’ with the EU, it is obvious, that the arrogance of Brussels, imposing the policy of globalists eager to flood graying Europe with cheap labor force, will inevitably push Hungarians
to the exit door, and there is no compromise possible.

The bitter irony of the situation that the EU member-state, which openly and massively abuses human rights – Spain, crushing Catalan attempts to organize independent referendum, and jailing Catalan politicians, – Spain did not receive any criticism from the European Parliament. No resolution in support of the human rights of jailed Catalan politicians has been issued so far, and nobody expects it will be in the nearest future.

However it is difficult to imagine most unsuitable time for sorting out relations with Orban, than the European Parliament election year.Imposition of illegal migrants, who in public debate already became just ‘migrants’, attempting to make Europeans forget the criminal  nature of human trafficking, continues to rise anti-EU sentiment, and pushing Hungarians away. Ceteris paribus!

 

#FutureofEurope: MEPs fail to show up

Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel received warm welcome from European Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani,  who stressed the importance of these debates on #FutureofEurope with European leaders, which ‘enable us to look ahead at what we can do together: member states, Commission and European Parliament”. However we did not receive any confirmation for the ‘importance of the debate’ from the behalf of the overwhelming  majority of MEPs, who simply failed to show up.

A few of Parliament’s group leaders praised Michel’s commitment to a strong Europe that delivers  added value to citizens, referring to the city of Brussels not only as the capital of Belgium, but also as the heart of the Europe. However, their compliments did not sound very convincing in a big void space.

One can question if the idea to give the PM speech of such a paramount significance in Brussels during mini-plenary was such a good idea, and wouldn’t it be better to follow the established format of presenting Belgium in Strasbourg? But this thought by no means diminishes criticism towards MEPs who regard their participation in mini-plenary as ‘benevolat‘. It is definitely not.

The nonchalant attitude is especially detrimental in view of upcoming European elections. In case the citizens will adopt the symmetrical attitude towards MEPs and ignore polling stations, the European Parliament would simply suffer lack of legitimacy, dramatically affecting the #FutureofEuope, at least its #EU dimension.