March 4. 2024. 4:55

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Morawiecki and Meloni’s Europe is destined to fail


In this edition, we look at why there is not much that is new about the alternative Europe proposed by Polish premier Mateusz Morawiecki and Italy’s Giorgia Meloni.


Editor’s Take: Morawiecki and Meloni’s Europe is destined to fail

Last November, EURACTIV reported on how the geopolitical role of Poland in the EU sharply changed as a consequence of the war in Ukraine, swapping its reputation as a troublemaker for becoming one of the pivotal EU actors in the Ukrainian war.

Similarly, in the space of several years, Fratelli d’Italia and its frontwoman Giorgia Meloni has morphed from being an “unacceptable” anti-EU standard bearer of the far-right leader to a credible pro-NATO and pro-Ukraine Prime Minister with cordial relations with EU top politicians.

When Meloni met her Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki on Tuesday, a strong vision of Europe emerged, in which power primarily lies in the hands of member states, and based around security, God, and family.

Both leaders have things in common: they share a passion for J. R. R. Tolkien of Hobbit and Lord of the Rings fame (wrongly associated with post-fascist parties and narratives), nationalism, and are now accepted by the European centre-right’s political establishment.

Knowing that it is one of their most effective means of attracting voters, Morawiecki and Meloni still position themselves as anti-establishment.

They want the EU to be a “global player” but at the same time, “taking into account all member states equally,” said Morawiecki.

“We want Europe to be a political giant, not a bureaucratic giant,” Meloni argued.

The trouble is, that in reality, it is an oxymoron to talk of a united Europe when sovereignty lies almost exclusively among member states with wildly different interests.

One of the reasons why the legislative path at EU level is so complicated is because of the extremely delicate equilibrium between national ministers, MEPs, the European Commission and national leaders.

Consensus among member states is usually preferable on sensitive pieces of legislation but this passage tends to lead to policy-making of the lowest common denominator.

A fragmented EU tends to benefit the largest and most powerful states, while small countries make the most of national vetoes.

Case in point is migration, where member states have failed to find a solution to manage the migration system at EU level and, having realised that the current Council system is unable to break the deadlock, are trying to put the burden on third countries by increasing returns and preventing departures.

And why is it impossible to find a solution? Because in a Europe where the words “security” are more appealing to voters than “solidarity” it is almost impossible to find a way of redistributing immigrants and welcoming them, particularly if they are from Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Even Meloni asked for solidarity on migration in late 2022, but only obtained a couple of weak lines in the communique accompanying the EU summit earlier this month which it stated that the problem is an “European one” where the “specificities” of maritime borders are recognised.

Morawiecki and Meloni’s idea of Europe will eventually fail. Time and again the model of an intergovernmental EU has led to inertia and political deadlock, and it is precisely that model that they are clinging to.


Capitals-in-brief

The Pegasus predator. A “warning letter” from the company allegedly behind the sale of the illegal Predator spyware has caused anger after it was sent to members of the European Parliament’s Pegasus inquiry committee tasked with investigating its use in Europe.

Borrell wades into new war of words. EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell has become embroiled in a war of words with the leftist Podemos party in Spain, describing them as “naive” over their hopes to resolve Russia’s invasion of Ukraine without weapons.

Meloni contra Berlusconi. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has accused former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi of deliberately trying to damage her international profile by way of his controversial comments against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.


Inside the institutions

EU sounds alarm on Tik Tok. The European Commission’s IT service has asked all Commission employees to uninstall TikTok from their corporate devices, as well as the personal devices using corporate apps, citing data protection concerns. The request to uninstall the Chinese-owned social media app was communicated via email to EU officials on Thursday morning.

Energy independence. The EU has added energy independence objectives to the remit bloc’s €800 billion recovery fund adopted two years ago in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The new objectives are described in a plan called REPowerEU, adopted by the European Commission last May in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The wait for white smoke. European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic has hinted that EU and UK officials are on the brink of a deal to revise the Northern Ireland Protocol – the arrangements agreed to avoid a hard border with EU member Ireland when Britain exited the EU in 2020.

Cost of Qatargate. The Qatargate bribery scandal in the European Parliament could undermine the EU’s attempts to hold national governments to account for rule of law abuses, the Civil Liberties Union for Europe has warned in a new report.


What we are reading

  • In Unherd, Tom McTague asks what can be done in Northern Ireland, the Brexit wound that will not heal.
  • The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland considers whether the Scottish National Party will pin their hopes for independence on escaping Brexit.
  • Mathieu Olivier looks at the Wagner group’s money-making schemes in Africa in the Africa Report.

The next week in politics

  • A committee week in the European Parliament which will host an Inter-Parliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic coordination and Governance in the EU bringing together lawmakers from across the bloc.
  • In the Council, meanwhile, EU agriculture and fisheries ministers will meet on Monday (27 February) followed by business ministers on the Competitiveness Council on Thursday.


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