EU Family Values

In some ways, the European groupings distill the worst of the national parties of which they are comprised.

The EU elections in May 2014 are going to be a challenge for the traditional parties and for the legitimacy of EU integration. The EU-wide parties—chiefly the center-right People's Party and left-leaning Socialist Party—will be running candidates for president of the European Commission.

There will be EU-wide electoral programs and shared strategies. But the citizens, as on previous occasions, will vote for their own countries’ parties, because the EU-wide parties have no credibility of their own. Nor can they, as long as they are incapable of criticizing national member parties, or of pressuring them to change when their behavior is manifestly opposed to values the EU-wide party claims to stand for.

Now the European Socialist Party has approved a program that identifies the Europe-wide social-democratic family. It did this in Bulgaria, where the local socialists are in power thanks to the support of the ultra-nationalist party Ataka, amid massive protests.

This government was touted as a technical one, but included figures as shady as Delyan Peevski, a media magnate dogged by corruption allegations, whom the government had to withdraw due to the protests. The European Socialist Party did not wish to raise its voice against “its own people” in Bulgaria; nor did it against the corruption in the Pasok (socialist) party in Greece; nor against the national-populist drift of leftist parties Slovakia and Romania.

With the excuse that “the others [i.e. the right] are worse,” the European Socialist Party is nourishing Euroscepticism when it abstains from criticism of member parties that shame the values enshrined in the new Fundamental Program.

These Socialist weaknesses are the perfect excuse for the European People's Party’s complicit and supportive silence concerning the undemocratic behavior of Fidesz, the political group that holds power in Hungary. Thanks to this support, Viktor Orbán’s government has escaped EU sanctions for having abused his two-thirds parliamentary majority to stamp out every trace of checks and balances, compulsively amending and re-amending the Constitution, always in his own favor.

Even Orbán’s principal defenders in the European People's Party have uttered murmurs of discontent. This, at least, is something: better than nothing. The European People's Party never uttered a word against Berlusconi’s abuses of power for private ends, nor does it speak now against the authoritarian drifts of conservative governments in Turkey, Macedonia, and Albania.

The British conservatives seem intent on making the European People's Party, which they left, look better than it is. Their Eurosceptic voting alliances with Poland’s Law and Justice party (Catholic, homophobic, ultraconservative), the Czech ODS of Václav Klaus (who preaches that climate change is a communist conspiracy), and other, frankly authoritarian groups, shows unconcern for democratic values and puts them outside the European democratic game.

Every time the two major EU-wide parties decide to look the other way in the face of misbehavior by “their own people,” they belie their rhetoric about shared values. Their solidarity is not, in practice, between nations or states, but a clan spirit in defense of their own people, right or wrong.

In this sense the European groupings distill the worst of the national parties of which they are comprised: uncritical loyalty and obsession with closing ranks, even at the cost of ethical integrity or coherence of ideas.

Luckily for them, their voters care little about unity on the European scale. If they did, and if they knew of the company their deputies keep in other countries, many voters might reconsider just who “their own people” are.

2 Comments

Actually, many MEP from the EPP abstained or even voted in favour of the Tavares report on Hungary. Still, the official position of the group was supportive to Fidesz and Orbán. In case they believe in a strategy to convince a member party to get back to common European norms from inside, open silence would be a better option.

Initially i was in favour of the EU,earlier in the 90’s and later in 2002 when Greece was joining the eurozone. I believed in the solidarity and prosperity of the european people through a strong single currency as the euro was - and still is.
Since the last 2 years i have been proved completely wrong. The euro was made just for the ECB and the country that controls it, namely Germany. That means the whole european south works for Germany and gradually some other european countries have already started to do so.
What’s the point of the european project after all? Do we really need more Europe by making closer ties between the countries of the EU?
The current, economic crisis has proved that there is no solidarity and mutual feelings between the european countries and each of them is primarily interested in their own sake, being utterly indifferent for the rest. Do the european countries really share common values?
I live in Greece and i have been unemployed for 2 years. I read and hear every day that the international lenders of Greece - especially Germany - the so called Troika demands from the greek government to impose new taxes and levies. How are we supposed to make it with all that?
That’s why i am eurosceptist and i am in favour of an eventual exit of Greece from the eurozone. Euro is exactly the problem of Europe itself. Because it has become the currency of one single country, namely Germany. All Europe is working for Germany at the moment. It’s like as if Europe was living a second WW2.
Conclusively, i don’t care about the socialists or the conservatives in Europe as well as in my own country. They are corrupted anyway.
The current Europe must be broken up and newly rebuilt. On an entirely new basis. Because as it is, leads definitely to fascism.

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