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Little political comments from a Euro-citizen (3) – Franck Biancheri (2004)

Barely 6 weeks after the European elections, the spectacle of the EU political system becomes pathetic. Once again, a combined election between the EPP and the PES to share the influence and financial resources allocated to the groups dominating the Strasbourg assembly: without common political objectives or common legislative programmes, of course. How could the voter give political credit to a Parliament where the two so-called opposing “parties” (left and right) share functions in complete privacy when six weeks ago, we heard them explain how irreconcilable their visions of Europe were? The maintenance of this method of “controlled cutting” of key positions in the European Parliament by the EPP and the PES has undoubtedly further increased the number of people abstaining from the next European election; and also the number of voters from populist parties.

In this regard, the UKIP “puppets” reveal their intentions. Behind the fat and brutal provocation (yesterday, on women; tomorrow, I imagine, on immigrants, the poor, the disabled, the intellectuals, and all those who do not look like an average “beauf”), they no longer talk about “breaking” the European Parliament, but on the contrary are starting to take their marks there. We will see over the next few years, through their votes in particular, who this type of party “rolls” for. Let’s be wary, they are undoubtedly a “prototype” for a larger scale operation in the 2009 European elections. And it is not these political fictions that the EPP and the PES are that will be able to oppose it. On the contrary, they generate, by their very political powerlessness, this type of populism.

Moreover, the EPP and PES do not even have political leaders with a European dimension. Their group leaders, or candidates for key positions, come and go from one legislature to another, and even during the legislature, according to obscure arrangements, agreements between apparatuses, incomprehensible to the uninitiated. In fact, they are managed like the Commission or the Council: opacity, bureaucratic management, refusal of “personalisation”, conviction that the public does not have to know what is being done in its “interest”,… Moreover, the fact that an increasing number of European civil servants* are being elected to the European Parliament, particularly via these two parties, must further reinforce this trend. Thus only a few names like Cohn-Bendit or Jens Peter Bonde manage to survive as identifiable political individuals. The rest is as “grey” in the eyes of the public as an administration is.

Meanwhile, our populist, extremist and xenophobic “friends” are making progress, against a backdrop of growing European abstentionism; and lobbyists are swimming like fish in water… but don’t worry, the EPP and the PES (80% of Europeans are not even aware of their existence) have just found work for two successive Europeans for the next 5 years at the helm of the European Parliament. It’s beautiful as a political twilight!

And don’t tell me that we can’t do otherwise. Everything is ready to create a trans-European democracy: the challenges, public opinion, technology and methods are there. There is still a clear lack of politicians to build it. Cheer up, they’re coming!

* Call to readers: if anyone knows the exact number of this strange and growing trend of community political incest, I am a taker.

Franck Biancheri
Paris (France) – July 2004

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