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But ...seriously Europe
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-06-07 10:40:24
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Most of the European member states are heading to the polls for the questionable Euro-parliament elections, but it seems that Europeans have other issues to keep them busy; some of them very serious, others really pathetic. But we’ve better start with the serious issues, and what more serious than the historical memories and the remark that it should never happen again.

Sadly humanity has said too many times “never again” and it has happened again despite all promises and efforts. But this time Europe - the continent that has suffered more than any other from wars - has the chance to make a difference by strengthening an institution that can protect and guarantee: the European Parliament. However, war veterans from all over Europe have joined the leaders of the nations to remember D-Day, the day that started the end of World War II, and to remember the words of Winston Churchill.

Unfortunately, on the same time the real drama is elsewhere, in the families of the people who tragically lost their lives in the Air France plane accident. It will take time until the experts verify the real reasons for the accident, at the moment they only have conjectures leading nowhere, that help to form conspiracy theories. The latest thing is that the pilots had sent 24 error messages and that the automatic pilot was not on, which means that they were in an emergency situation and the pilots needed to take over the machines. Of course, after this long there is no hope for survivors, but there is a necessity for some answers.

Answers are also demanded by the British people from a Prime Minister who seem to lack the questions. You see, the British Prime Minister inherited a situation nobody thought could get any worse, but Gordon Brown managed to make it worse, and this is the best deed of his career. Now one minister resigns after the other, and the scandals seem to be out of control, creating a snowball effect that takes over the whole Labour party.

On the same time, other people in the northern part of the continent seem to be getting some control over the financial snowball that nearly led them to national bankruptcy. Iceland managed to repay over two billion euros of UK savings, and somehow they have softened the foreign debt situation after the dramatic fall of the national banks. Of course Icelanders still mistrust their state, and it will probably take a long time to recover.

Somebody else who will need time to recover is the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who lately have been seeing photos of his wife …naked, and now being auctioned out to the highest bidders all around the world. Perhaps he is the one to blame, because he’s said on many occasions that he’s willing to do anything to see the Republic happy again. Well, with a little help from his naked wife, he manages to put a smile back on a lot of faces.

Somebody who has definitely made a lot of people smile, but definitely not his wife, is Silvio, the almighty Silvio Berlusconi, the modern Don Juan, media mogul and part time Italian Prime Minister. The latest photos over-flooding media and the internet show Silvio practising new positions, including how to be silly with an eighteen year-old girl! This was the pathetic news I was referring to in the introduction.

But please, we are not finished yet; the next piece of news supports the gay movement and their adoption rights. Two gay penguins in a German zoo – in Bremerhaven, northern Germany – have hatched a …chick! The egg, which had been rejected by its natural parents, was adopted by two male penguins. Well, nature has always had its own way to show us what it thinks!

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Emanuel Paparella2009-06-07 14:12:44
Three lines for D day (which was yesterday) a whole paragraph each for three EU prime ministers with extra-curricular interests and clever by half. And a whole paragraph for gay penguins. It mirrors what is important in the news nowadays, one has to suppose.

Emanuel Paparella2009-06-07 14:35:45
The only star in the above scenario seems to be the EU Parliament who is supposedly charged with defending the freedom and human rights of all Europeans. But wait a minute, the EU Parlamentarians are chosen by the people through democratic elections, so they represent the people. But the people, by and large, don’t vote in European elections. So what is at work here is a vicious circle of sort. The people don’t vote but expect those for whom they have not voted to guarantee their rights. Few speak of civic obligations and duties and of the fact that most human rights are inalienable and therefore they need no guarantor once recognized as such. But, of course, if the guarantor is raw power only, then the EU Parliament is quite impotent because it has precious little of that; the power remains in the hands of the sovereign states comprising the union, mostly base on purely economic factors; and so we are back to the vicious circle. Indeed, we in the West are in deep hole, Humpty Dumpty or the savage capitalistic system, the so called market, in which everybody trusted till a few years ago, is broken but we keep trying to put it back together again. Old habits die hard.

Emanuel Paparella2009-06-07 19:21:53
Here is latest report by mid-day today from the New York Times which seems to support the above analysis:

By midday today, the second day of voting, turnout stood at 30.7 per cent compared 34.2 per cent at the same point in the last European elections five years ago...

Those statistics do not augur well for the EU Parliament to salvage a union which is still looking for its cultural identity and a constitution worthy of its name.

Emanuel Paparella2009-06-07 19:36:46
And here is another ominous trend coming from "ultraliberal" progressive Netherland only a few hours ago when voting was completed there:

Results from the Dutch vote show that the far-right and anti-Islamic Party for Freedom, headed by MP Geert Wilders, came second with 17 percent of the vote, and will have four seats in the assembly.

Emanuel Paparella2009-06-07 19:52:43

And another sad and ominous trend: Berlusconi coalition parties are doing very well in this election of absenteism. For an objective and nuanced analysis of this astonishing popularity of Berlusconi in Italy, open the link about. It explains a lot that remains perplexing to people who know little about the history and culture of Italy.

Thanos2009-06-07 20:06:20
The turn out is dramatically low all around Europe but perhaps there is a message there the states, the EU leadership and the politicians should hear and take seriously.

But let's wait, this is going to be a long night!

Emanuel Paparella2009-06-08 04:27:12
Now that the long night is over and the votes have been counted (it is now 4:30 on the other side of the Atlantic)here are two of the headlines in the on-line Euro-Observer:

Far right make gains in ten member states
Today @ 02:03 CET

Across Europe, the far right is on the march, claiming increased numbers of seats in ten different member states. However, in Belgium, France and Poland, the far right saw some significant losses as well.

European elections marked by record low turnout
Today @ 01:06 CET

The turnout in the 2009 European elections was the lowest ever since direct elections for the house started thirty years ago, with Slovakia getting the lowest score for the second time in a row.

Indeed there is a message there but surely its interpretation will be different, depending on which ideological lenses one wears. It would appear however that the analysis I offered has some validity if one does not wear those lenses and does not personalize the issue.

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