Claude Moraes: ‘Protecting our European Way of Life’ is ‘anachronistic and insulting title’

Written by Martin Banks on 11 September 2019 in News
News

UK MEP Claude Moraes has joined a growing chorus of scathing criticism of the European Commission’s new portfolio for "Protecting our European Way of Life.”

Photo credit: Press Association


Greek-born Margaritis Schinas, a long-serving European Commission official, will take charge of the controversially-named role, which includes steering the EU policy on migration and security issues as well as upholding the rule of law across the bloc.

But Moraes and others have condemned the name and warned that Parliament may seek to change it.

Moraes, a Socialist member, told this website on Wednesday, “The European Commission have either deliberately played to the populist right in naming this or they have made a serious mistake.”


RELATED CONTENT


“Either way this anachronistic, insulting title has no place in a modern European Commission and we will challenge it in the parliamentary hearings.”

“The hearings have modified powers so can place quite a lot of pressure on the Commission on this point.”

Moraes, a vice president of the S&D group, said, “‘Another question is exactly what will the Home Affairs Commissioner be doing if Schinas is in charge of migration?”

The new portfolio was announced by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen at a news briefing on Tuesday but critics immediately poured scorn on the move, saying it suggested that migrants were threatening European values.

“This anachronistic, insulting title has no place in a modern European Commission and we will challenge it in the parliamentary hearings” Claude Moraes MEP

"It's a far-right slogan", the European Trade Union said on Twitter. "And why is migration in this portfolio? We need protection for our democracy and against climate change - not against migrants.”

Another MEP, Dutch Liberal Sophie in 't Veld, described it as a "fake portfolio", saying the “point about the European way of life is that individuals have the freedom to choose their own way of life.”

"The implication that Europeans need to be protected from external cultures is grotesque and this narrative should be rejected," she said in a statement.

She added, “Creating a portfolio “Protection of the European way of life” in response to “legitimate fears and concerns about the impact of irregular migration” is totally misguided and reprehensible.”

German MEP Ska Keller, a co leader of the Greens/EFA group in Parliament, said in a statement that putting migration and border protection under a portfolio on protecting the European way of life was "scary".

"The implication that Europeans need to be protected from external cultures is grotesque and this narrative should be rejected” Sophie in 't Veld MEP

"We hope President von der Leyen doesn't see a contradiction between supporting refugees and European values," she said.

Damien Carême, a French member of the Greens, said the portfolio name was "an abomination."

"It looks pretty but when one realizes that it means he will be in charge of migration, integration and security, then it's absolutely disgusting," Careme added.

The head of Amnesty International's European institutions office, Eve Geddie, said, "Linking migration with security, in the portfolio of the Commissioner for Protecting our European Way of Life, risks sending a worrying message."

The new role is one of 27 commissioners announced by the Commission.

"We hope President von der Leyen doesn't see a contradiction between supporting refugees and European values” Ska Keller MEP

All 27 commissioners, including Schinas, face hearings in Parliament at the end of the month with the College as a whole requiring a ratification vote by MEPs.

Schinas said the goal of the position would be "better protecting our citizens and borders and modernizing our asylum system, investing in Europeans' skills and creating brighter futures for our youth.”

He added, “I am confident that we can take great strides over the next five years to both protect and empower Europeans."

On Wednesday, a Commission spokesman angrily hit back at the criticism, telling this website that criticism of the name was “a fundamental misreading of what the portfolio is about.”

"It looks pretty but when one realises that it means he [Schinas] will be in charge of migration, integration and security, then it's absolutely disgusting” Damien Carême MEP

The spokesman added, “The European Way of Life stands for vibrant, open and democratic societies.”

“The Title ‘Protecting our European way of life’ comes from the political guidelines published in July.”

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

Interested in this content?

Sign up to our free daily email bulletins.

 

Share this page

Tags

Categories

Related Partner Content

How the largest American Muslim foundation was falsely demonised by white supremacists
9 August 2019

The escalating spate of mass shootings from Christchurch to El Paso has been enabled by the fact that millions of ordinary people now believe in the existence of an Islamist conspiracy to ‘replace...

European Arrest Warrant comes under renewed scrutiny
16 November 2017

The EAW system has quite rightly once again come under the media spotlight, writes Willy Fautré

Morocco: Advancing women's rights
28 June 2018

Morocco’s willingness to tackle gender equality is setting an example for the EU’s southern neighbourhood, writes Jeanne Laperrouze.