The creation of a UN “Commissioner for Protecting our European Way of Life” has sparked outrage across Europe, after the new role which will oversee immigration policy was announced by incoming EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen.
The new position, to be filled by Greece’s EU commissioner, Margaritis Schinas, was unveiled along with the rest of von der Leyen’s new cabinet at a Tuesday press conference in Brussels.
While Von der Leyen said the new Commission cabinet was “as diverse as Europe is,” critics have noted that all of its members are white, while calling the new commissioner position “fascist,” according to The Independent – which couldn’t find a single person in support of the new role for a quote.
“This looks like the portfolio to fight back against the rise of the fascists, but only by adopting their divisive rhetoric around ‘strong borders’,” British Green MEP Molly Scott Cato told The Independent.
“What Greens value about our European way of life is our role as a beacon of compassion and diversity. We will continue our work to ensure that Europe remains a safe harbour for those fleeing persecution and to champion global human rights.”
Many of the posts in Ms Von der Leyen’s new cabinet, which will serve for five years, have avoided traditional ministerial titles for more goal-orientated names like Commissioner for “A Stronger Europe in the World” and “An Economy that Works for People”.
Liberal Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld told The Independent “The very point about the European way of life, is the freedom for individuals to chose their own way of life. We do not need a Commissioner for that, thank you very much,” adding “The implication that Europeans need to be protected from external cultures is grotesque and this narrative should be rejected.”
“The only threat to “our way of life” is autocrats and populists like Orbán, Kaczinsky or Johnson trampling all over the rule of law, fundamental rights and democracy. Instead of creating fake portfolios, the Commission should show some more guts in upholding the values we have laid down in our treaties, laws and case law.” –The Independent
The controversial new commissioner, Margaritis Schinas, said in a statement “I am trilled to be nominated for the position of Vice-President for Protecting Our European Way of Life.”
“From better protecting our citizens and borders and modernising our asylum system, to investing in Europeans’ skills and creating brighter future for our youth, I am confident that we can take great strides over the next five years to both protect and empower Europeans.”