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Co-Chairman Prof. Ryszard Legutko on the State of the Union Speech

16 September 2020

Co-Chairman Prof. Ryszard Legutko on the State of the Union Speech

Ms von der Leyen, I urge you: work with member states, not with ideologically driven campaigns.

Co-Chairman Prof. Ryszard Legutko on the State of the Union Speech given by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen:

Thank you Mr President and Madame President,

The last decade has been rather turbulent for the EU. It is in a worse shape.

The European Union today is in a worse shape than it was 10 years ago. I therefore find it rather puzzling that every year over the last decade, we have heard from every Commission president that a radiant future is awaiting us and that the days of EU glory are just round the corner provided, of course, that the European Commission and European institutions get more competencies.

You must be aware, Madame President, that fewer and fewer people across Europe take this message seriously.

European health agency, European cloud, European Bauhaus. I wonder if the new European architecture will resemble this building [the European Parliament in Brussels] - what a frightening perspective.

Madame President, the gist of your argument today was that the pandemic crisis is a good opportunity to launch ambitious radical programmes, including the Green Deal. I’m sorry to say but this is a bad argument, this is bad logic and bad logic generates bad policy. What you are proposing is a great leap forward in a situation in which the future is more precarious than ever. The Green Deal with 55%, why not 60, is a costly extravaganza animated solely by the spirit of an environmentalist crusade, not by sober, sober, socio-economic considerations.

Now a few words about so-called “rule of law provisions”, I say so-called because it has nothing to do with rule of law. The whole idea, as you remember, was an iniquitous trick of the previous Commission in complete disregard to the treaties, in intention to bully the governments that dissented from the mainstream. It is not what they do, those governments, because they don’t do anything objectionable, but what they are. The previous Commission let a malignant genie out the bottle, a genie of political foul play, and they are not interested in putting it back.

This so-called conditionality is another step towards complete lawlessness, the prospect of which makes the majority of my colleagues almost ecstatic. And Madame President, do not be deluded by this sanctimonious rhetoric you hear in this chamber, as usual behind the sanctimoniousness, there is ugly politics and there is hypocrisy. What this rule of law politics amounts to is brutal majoritarianism. The mainstream majority wants to crush every form of dissent. Do not open the door for more instruments of the tyranny of the majority, as you promised you would do it - that was the scariest part of your speech. This is already getting uglier and uglier, wider and more mendacious; the European Institutions wants to switch off democratically constituted institutions of the nation states. They instigate internal conflicts by endorsing some parties against other parties. This is not your business, you shouldn’t do it. So, this is political arrogance at its worst.

So let me conclude. If we continue, if you and your Commission continue the current course, the course espoused by many of my fellow Group leaders here this morning, Europe will be wrecked, I repeat, Europe will be wrecked, caught in an ideological pincer movement, orchestrated by green federalist extremists. Mr. Juncker will forever be remembered as the Commission President who lost Britain. You, Ms Von Der Leyen, must make sure that you are not the president who lost the peoples of Europe. I urge you: work with member states, not with ideologically driven campaigns masquerading as political groups in this house. Save the European Union from ideology, and return it to realism.”

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