Is Europe’s way of life under threat? The new European Commission could include a Commissioner responsible for “Protecting our European Way of Life”, whose portfolio would include issues related to migration. Many MEPs in the European Parliament are outraged, accusing incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen of allowing racist “dog-whistle” language in a bid to quash growing support for populist and far-right parties.
The Commission President-elect has defended the controversial job title on Twitter. She argues that our “European way of life” refers to Article 2 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which sets out the values of the Union:
[…] Respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the current President of the European Commission, has criticised his successor’s choice of language. Juncker points out that the job title makes it sound like welcoming migrants is against European culture and values.
Is there a European way of life? Is it just a euphemism that borrows from far-right rhetoric? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!