Outcry Over EU 'way Of Life' Migration Portfolio

Outcry over EU 'way of life' migration portfolio

Brussels, Sept 10 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 10th Sep, 2019 ) :An EU Commission proposal to brand its powerful migration portfolio as "protecting the European way of life" sparked outrage from some European lawmakers Tuesday who called it a worrying use of far-right rhetoric.

The row erupted after incoming European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen named her cabinet for the next five years, giving the controversially-named job to Greek former MEP Margaritis Schinas.

Migration is an explosive topic for the von der Leyen commission that is taking office on November 1 for the next five years, with far-right parties making electoral gains Europe-wide on talk of a migration invasion from Africa and the middle East.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, is accused of doing too little to stop migrants from making their way to Europe. The topic became a full blown crisis in 2015 when more than a million mostly Syrian refugees made their way to the continent.

"It is scary to see a proposal for a portfolio on 'Protecting the European way of life' which includes migration and border protection," said MEP Ska Keller, who is co-head of the Greens group in the European Parliament.

"We hope President von der Leyen does not see a contradiction between supporting refugees and European values," she added.

British MEP Claude Moraes of the left-of-centre Labour party, also slammed the proposal, calling it a "real problem" that could threaten the ratification of the new commission by parliament.

"I will raise it in my group tonight and a reminder that the European Parliament has to okay all of this. A portfolio with a title like this just cannot stand in my view," he tweeted.

Amnesty International also hit out at the job title, accusing Brussels of "using the framing of the far right by linking migration with security".

"This sends a worrying message," said Stefan Simanowitz of Amnesty International.

Von der Leyen hails from the right-of-centre European People's Party, the parliament's biggest group of which Hungary's anti-migrant Fidesz party is also a powerful member.

The EPP has been under pressure in many European nations, losing electoral ground to far-right parties, such as Germany's AfD or France's Rassemblement National.

Von der Leyen, a former German defence minister, defended the job title.

"Our European way of life is holding up our values. The beauty of the dignity of every single human being is one of the most precious values," she told a news briefing.

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