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European parties: the Chinese shadow puppets of European democracy

Franck Biancheri, 08/02/2004 

The EPP (European People’s Party) crisis, which the Fidesz (Hungarian conservative right-wing party of Viktor Orban), of which it is a member, threatens to leave (EUobserver: Orban to EPP: turn ‘Christian democratic’ or face challenge) -and therefore jeopardizes the possibility for the EPP to win a strong majority over to a new parliamentary group that could be created after the 2019 European elections with the massive arrival of populist and sovereignist forces- raises once again the question of the legitimacy of these so-called political “European parties”. Indeed, these groups are only the aggregate of a multitude of national parties, and bear the name “European” only because their elected representatives sit in the European Parliament. No common program, no “Spitzenkandidat”, no joint campaign for the European elections, Franck Biancheri designated them under the term “Chinese shadow puppets of European democracy” … An article to rediscover below:

European parties: the Chinese shadow puppets of European democracy 

The European Parliament is a huge theater … of Chinese shadow puppets called “European political parties”. Their names are: NGLA, EFA, EGP, PES, EDP, ALDE, EPP, AECR, ADDE, MENF

Their acronyms are unknown to European voters who would be unable to position them on the political scene, without even to talk about the content of their programs.

These parties have an exceptional characteristic in a democracy: they exist all the time except when they must appear before their constituents. They are figuring those shadow puppets. You think you see a beautiful bird while it is only the shadow of two hands.

The European election will take place in 4 months. The “European parties” hold congresses. Some media report this to see that not much is going on besides strong solemn declarations. It usually teaches that they ask for more Europe and more power for the European Parliament (except the eurosceptics who ask for much more power for the European Parliament, but not more Europe): what a scoop!

For the rest, they bicker about the question of the distribution of future positions, both in the future parliament and in other institutions. These debates make the commentators of the little enchanted world of Brussels and Strasbourg vibrate; when in fact nobody would be able to realy make the difference between a more left or more right European Parliament. It is only a registration chamber of the decisions taken by the administration of the Commission or of the Council; and our friends the MEPs are there to make believe that the “European people” through its “legitimate representatives” imposes its will.

But let’s not forget, in a Chinese shadow puppets theater everything is only appearance. So our European parties, which, in the future, should benefit from substantial European subsidies, just because they exist in the European Parliament (a multitude of European symposia in perspective), move a lot in the corridors of Brussels and Strasbourg; but alas we do not never see them in the streets of our cities.

And, after the adoption (often a very painful act) of “European programs” for the future European elections, and their promise that this time, yes sworn!, they will campaign together before the electors, they are in fact runing in a dispersed, diluted way, exhibiting in fine only national slogans, national programs and purely national issues. The voters of each of our 25 Member States who in June will participate in the European elections (the plural used says everything there is to say) will witness 25 different unrelated campaigns.

This is because our so nice “European parties” cann’t hide no longer the reality: they are not so beautiful birds; they are only the shadow of a manipulation: a manipulation that tries to make believe 450 million Europeans that it is possible to represent European citizens by agregating national political parties, balkanizing the common democracy.

For the moment all the actors (except the citizens and the European project) are happy with this solution: the Commission and Council wear their democratic jockstraps ; national political parties control the European Parliament and prevent any new political competitor could enter it. A place where they also find a refuge for national “has been” politicians and a “golden cage” for convinced Europeans (as well as a good source of fundings).

But beware of the next elections and the years to come. The theater of shadow puppets in order to work needs two other things which are no longer assured: the light and the public. The public deserts more and more the European elections because the show is really indigent; and the candle that illuminates the backlit manipulation could well set fire to the theater with the rise of populist forces.

For the moment everything is fine. Parliament is having fun preparing for the next election. Do not disturb him yet!

Franck Biancheri, 08/02/2004

Download pdf file: “European parties: the shadow puppets of European democracy” (FB, 08/02/2004) ©FB-Documentation 2018 – Association des Amis de Franck Biancheri

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