The New EU Commission: A New European Policy?
The narrow and composite feature of the majority that elected the new president of the European commission suggests that the political reality of the European Union has evolved. In fact, the new president was chosen thanks to the decisive support of French President Emmanuel Macron and of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The latter, after an in-depth talk with the new president, Ursula von der Leyen, was said to be fully satisfied with the choice. Clearly he was reassured that consideration was being afforded his Christian democratic vision of Europe, as an alternative to the excesses of the intolerant neo-liberalism now widespread in the European Parliament.
Also according to the statements issued by the new president, all that yields the expectation that the new commission won’t ignore either the objections to politics-as-usual presented by the parties of the right, or the widespread disaffection of the European citizens. Even the new vice president, Margrethe Vestager, declared her intention to discuss the policies under consideration with the right wing political forces within the EU parliament.
The point is that in Brussels, as in most Western European capitals, all opinions diverging from the “politically correct” of the mainly leftist or new-liberal forces which, if not in power, nevertheless dominate the information system, are too hastily written off as populist, regardless of the fact that a wide range of notions condemned as populist are genuinely popular, constituting the basis of the vision offered by the European Popular Party. The EEP, in its turn, represents the next evolutionary step of the European Union of the Christian Democratic Parties, which have held a vision that is often and logically at odds with the pervasive neo-liberalism that has become ensconced in European institutions and the media.
It is the vision that inspired the three Christian Democratic leaders, Adenauer, De Gasperi and Schuman, who co-founded the European project, which was rooted in four principles: a rejection of power politics and war, subsidiarity, solidarity (among the members), openness, and an inclusive attitude towards non-members. This vision was enshrined in the wider perspective of collective security promoted by the United Nations, which had been created several years beforehand and taken at that time, at least by the three of them, extremely seriously with respect to its mission to promote peace.
A united front between the Popular Party and the European political forces of the right could lead to the rediscovery of these principles and to a better understanding of them, so that the EU could avoiding repeating mistakes like the establishment of the Eastern Partnership Initiative of 2009, which was conceived at the time as a denial of the principle of openness, with the clear intent of excluding Russia.
But aside from a return to the principles that inspired the creation of the European communities, namely those of openness and inclusion, the notion that the exclusion of Russia was unsustainable was recently asserted by French President Macron, who told the Economist that this type of relationship between the European Union and Russia cannot last for long. Having he been one of the “makers” of the new presidency, his opinions will not fail to have an impact on the new commission. That yields hope that European politics will move away from the so-called “main stream” of the Western media, which often baselessly holds Russia and its allies responsible for all the instability in Eastern Europe as well as accidents in the Middle East.