In een open brief riep aan alle Europeanen riep de Franse president Emmanuel Macron deze week op om ‘samen de weg te bereiden naar de Vernieuwing van Europa.’ Ewald Engelen geeft antwoord.
Dear Mr Macron,
Many thanks for the letter you have sent me, in the form of an op-ed piece that was signed by you and published in 28 European newspapers this week. For well-informed citizens, it did not contain much news. Most of what you propose in your letter was already in your Sorbonne lecture of 2016.
Nevertheless, it did contain one new proposal: the idea to set up a European Agency for the protection of Democracy. Which, I have to say, quite disconcerted me. The experts of this agency would be mandated, you suggest, to help member states to counter cyberattacks and to block the distribution of authority-bashing ‘fake news’.
As far as I am concerned, Mr. Macron, this is on a par with ‘war is peace’, ‘freedom is slavery’ and ‘ignorance is strength.’ And if you are only slightly into European literature, you may recognize this as being from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Protecting democracy by institutionally limiting the diversity of opinions to those who carry the approval of a European agency: that is quite something. Especially coming from someone who has mandated excessive police violence against yellow vest-carrying citizens.
This has more than a whiff in common with a European thought police which in the run up to the European parliamentary elections has the power to decide which opinions are allowed public hearing and which are not. And as such, the idea belongs in a dictatorship, rather than in a democracy.
Especially since you yourself, in your letter, demonstrate that you are not above spreading fake news. You state that the euro has protected member states and, by implication, their citizens, against the worst effects of the financial crisis of 2008. That is utter and complete bullshit. The euro has anesthetized the risk sensitivity of bankers and asset managers and has set in motion massive capital flows from North to South and from productive sectors to speculative sectors (real estate). This proved to be irresponsible and unsustainable.
What’s more, the monetary union prohibited member states to pursue progressive fiscal policies, which has turned the Eurozone into an economic laggard compared to the US and the UK — and it has cost citizens dearly. In the Netherlands, Italy and even Germany, households are still poorer than they were before the introduction of the euro.
If these are the European values you feel you have to promote, Mr. Macron, then I am afraid I can only wish you lots of success with the next European elections. Which, I am sure, will wipe you and your party out.