AKEL voted against the new Commission proposed by von der Leyen
Conflicts of interest, corruption and neoliberalism the formula
AKEL C.C. Press Office, 29th November 2019, Nicosia
AKEL, together with the whole of the Group of the Left, voted against the new European Commission under Ursula von der Leyen in the European Parliament.
The new Commission’s political orientation continues the same policy that has driven Europe to today’s economic, social and political deadlocks. The same policies causing acute inequalities both within and between member states will continue. During the hearings of the candidate Commissioners it became clear that there is no desire whatsoever for any ambitious commitments to be set regarding social, environmental and democratic goals. No meaningful and bold commitments have been made on the environment and climate change.
Extremely worrying is the fact that the militarization of the EU and its deeper association with NATO will continue. For us it is inconceivable that at the same time as we are counting millions of unemployed, poor and homeless people across the EU more and more funds are going to be channeled towards the war arms industry.
It must also be pointed out that during the hearings of the candidate Commissioners serious issues regarding conflicts of interest were raised for some of the proposed Commissioners and it is not accidental that three of them were actually forced to resign. It cannot be that senior executives from multinational companies assume portfolios in areas to which until yesterday they active in. That is precisely why the Left Group has called for the establishment of an independent Ethics Committee to deal with corruption and/or conflict of interest issues of persons that are staffing European institutions.
Finally, we recall that the election of the President of the Commission herself came out of nowhere, thus confirming the structural democratic deficits within the EU and all the wheeling and dealing that took place behind closed doors between the establishment political forces of the EU. It is no coincidence that her candidacy had been approved last July by a tiny majority.
The approval of Oliver Varhelyi from Hungary as European Commissioner in charge of neighborhood and enlargement policy represents a negative development for Cyprus. The far-right Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who comes from the European People’s Party, had recently stated that he was aiming to secure the key crucial position of EU Enlargement Commissioner for his country in order to help Turkey, while he had indeed praised the Turkish invasion of Syria. Despite the fact that this should of course had triggered a universal reaction, due to the European Right’s persistence Orban’s demand was eventually satisfied. During the hearings in the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), AKEL pressingly demanded clear answers from Mr. Varhelyi on what his stance would be, without however the new Commissioner being convincing.
AKEL will judge the new Commission and each Commissioner on their work. However, what our continent and its peoples need is another Europe. A Europe of Social justice and ecology. A Europe of Democracy and solidarity; a Europe of the peoples.
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