For many observers of the European Union, it is a dike that has just jumped. Replacing the title of the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship portfolio with the "Protection of the European way of life", the new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, shocked and created a lively controversy.
It is the Greek Margaritis Schinas, one of the nine vice-presidents of the new team that will take office on 1 November, and whose country is on the front line of migrant arrivals, who will manage this very sensitive issue. He will be in charge of the rule of law and internal security and will have to ensure, according to Ursula von der Leyen, that the EU has "solid borders and a new approach to migration".
>> Read: Ursula von der Leyen elected President of the European Commission
Reactions quickly rocked among MEPs on the left, especially some former French list heads. Raphaël Glucksmann (Place public) wrote on Twitter that this title was "the Brussels resurrection of the sinister 'Minister of Immigration and National Identity'" in reference to the ministry created in 2007 at the beginning of the five-year term of Nicolas Sarkozy.
"Commissioner for the Protection of our European way of life" in charge of migration issues, is the Brussels resurrection of the sinister "Minister of Immigration and National Identity. "
No way to validate such a post. The fight is just beginning.
Same story with Manon Aubry, the former head of list of insubordinate France, contacted by France 24, which sees in this title "the words and ideas of the far right". "While we should talk about humanity and a dignified welcome for migrants, this is the direction that Ursula von der Leyen intends to take on European migration policies with a Frontex agency that will serve as the EU's armed wing to militarize our countries. borders instead of saving lives, "she regretted.
"This is clearly a nationalist withdrawal, for its part Damien Carême, MEP Europe Ecology-The Greens and former mayor of Grande-Synthe, contacted by France 24. It puts me out of me because I see the devastation that this rhetoric creates in the public opinion thus validating the theses of the far right. "
Already an abomination of the new European Commission! Margaritis Schinas will be commissioner for the "European Way of Life". It looks pretty but when we scratch and we realize that he will be in charge of migration, integration and security, then it is to vomit!Damien CAREME (@DamienCAREME) September 10, 2019
"Our European way of life is to cling to our values"
Former Minister of Defense Angela Merkel, Ursula von der Leyen is an experienced politician. The choice of words is not innocent. With such a title, everyone can understand that migrants would threaten the European way of life.
The new president of the European Commission defended herself on Tuesday, September 10, during the presentation of her team, explaining that "our European way of life is to cling to our values". And his entourage invited the critics to look in detail at the mission letter of the future Greek commissioner.
>> Read: Migrants: 14 European countries agree on a "solidarity mechanism"
In this document, "solidarity", "peace of mind" and "security" define the "European way of life". The mission letter also emphasizes that immigration "is both an opportunity and a necessity for Europe".
"Except that the letter also speaks of legal immigration well organized, which means that in the reception, we actually made the chosen immigration, we only take competent people who bring something," protests Damien Lent.
"An ideological victory quite clear of the nationalists"
Specialist far-right parties in Europe, the researcher Nicolas Lebourg, contacted by France 24, also refutes the arguments of Ursula von der Leyen. "The title is still quite clear: it is a clear ideological victory of the nationalists.The right extremists present globalization as an orientalisation of Europe, but here we are in the same reading grid."
While the nationalist parties achieved excellent scores in the last European elections in May 2019, the Brussels strategy is to "catch the ball to contain", in the words of Nicolas Lebourg, and respond to the anxieties of European citizens facing immigration. But for the latter, "experience has shown that at the national level, attempts to mark far-right rhetoric actually benefit far-right parties". "The line Patrick Buisson did not save Nicolas Sarkozy and Manuel Valls line did not save Francois Hollande," he said.
>> To see: European elections, the shock wave
Will it be the same on a European scale? "These words may have become popular in Europe but we do not beat the extreme right by taking his theses, believes Manon Aubry.I hope that in the ranks of the European Parliament, we will refuse the recovery of this vocabulary and that we can have a majority to bring down this commissioner. "
All the team presented by Ursula von der Leyen must indeed hold hearings before the MEPs, who will confirm the positions awarded in a vote on 23 October. "There are job titles that need to be better understood, and hearings in Parliament will be essential," said Amelie de Montchalin, Secretary of State for European Affairs, on Franceinfo on Wednesday (11 September). . Proof that even the French government questions "the protection of the European way of life".