EU chief under fire over 'protecting way of life' portfolio

EU chief below hearth over ‘defending lifestyle’ portfolio

European Commission president-designate Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels, Belgium September 10, 2019Picture copyright

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Ursula von der Leyen will change Jean-Claude Juncker on 1 November

Incoming European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen has discovered herself below hearth for nominating a commissioner answerable for “Defending our European Manner of Life”.

Critics say the portfolio, which is able to oversee migration and safety, faucets into right-wing rhetoric.

One Dutch MEP described the transfer as “grotesque” whereas Amnesty Worldwide mentioned it was “worrying”.

Migration has turn out to be a key political battleground in lots of EU states.

Some right-wing and nationalist teams have made robust electoral beneficial properties with pledges to curb the stream of immigrants into the bloc.

The brand new function emerged as Mrs von der Leyen named her government staff.

Her nominee for the controversial publish is Greek former MEP Margaritis Schinas, the present European Fee spokesman and a member of Greece’s governing centre-right social gathering New Democracy.

In her letter to him outlining the portfolio, Mrs von der Leyen mentioned “the European lifestyle is constructed round solidarity, peace of thoughts and safety”.

“We should handle and allay official fears and issues in regards to the impression of irregular migration on our financial system and society,” she added.

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Getty Photographs

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Margaritis Schinas is the present European Fee spokesman

However Amnesty Worldwide accused the EU of “utilizing the framing of the far proper” by linking migration with safety.

“This sends a worrying message,” tweeted spokesman Stefan Simanowitz.

Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld referred to as it a “faux portfolio”.

“The implication that Europeans should be protected against exterior cultures is grotesque and this narrative must be rejected,” she mentioned in a press release.

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The EU has been accused of doing too little to cease migrants making their technique to Europe

The European Commerce Union branded the title of the brand new portfolio “a far-right slogan”.

“Why… is migration on this portfolio? We want safety for our democracy, towards local weather change and so on – not towards migrants,” it mentioned.

Ska Keller, co-leader of the Greens within the European Parliament, mentioned it was “scary to see a proposal for a portfolio on ‘defending the European lifestyle’ which incorporates migration and border safety”.

“We hope President von der Leyen doesn’t see a contradiction between supporting refugees and European values,” she mentioned.

In a tweet, British Inexperienced MEP Molly Scott Cato mentioned the “appropriation of the rhetoric of the far proper should finish”.

Responding to the criticism, Mrs von der Leyen mentioned the function had been included in her political tips printed in July.

“Our European lifestyle is holding up our values,” she advised reporters. “The great thing about the dignity of each single human being is likely one of the most valuable values.”

Mrs von der Leyen, Germany’s former defence minister, will formally change Fee President Jean-Claude Juncker on 1 November.

Her new government staff of 27 – one for every member state – is deliberate to be in place for 5 years. If permitted by the European Parliament, it will likely be probably the most gender-diverse in EU historical past, with 13 ladies and 14 males.

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Media captionUrsula von der Leyen mentioned she needed Europe to be the primary “climate-neutral” continent

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