This shameful Europe


The newly appointed European Commission, whose members take up their posts on November 1st, is to include a vice-president responsible for migration and home affairs with the title of “Protecting our European Way of Life”. Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel argues here that this semantic choice is a shameful concession to the continent’s far-right, whereby issues of identity have overturned social demands.

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“Words can be like tiny doses of arsenic: they are swallowed unnoticed, appear to have no effect, and then after a little time the toxic reaction sets in after all.” That observation by Victor Klemperer is spontaneously brought to mind with the news that the incoming European Commission presided by Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen will include a vice-president – Greece’s Margaritis Schinas – with the job title of “Protecting our European Way of Life” (a phrase which echoes that of the proudly imperialistic “American Way of Life”).