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Suddenly the EU is looking like a parody of itself

Last night came this, “National Conservatism Conference: Police told to shut down right-wing Brussels event”

Brussels police were ordered to shut down a conference for right-wing politicians, including Brexiteer Nigel Farage and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, on Tuesday.

People were stopped from entering the National Conservatism Conference a few hours after it began, organisers said – although it continued for those inside.

The local mayor said he issued the order to ensure public security.

Organisers of the conference said they “overcame attempts to silence” them.

They said they plan to continue with the conference on Wednesday, writing: “See you again tomorrow!” on X, formerly Twitter.

The BBC article continued,

The move to shut down the conference was also criticised by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who called it “unacceptable”.

“Banning political meetings is unconstitutional. Full stop,” Mr De Croo wrote on X.

Referring to the fact that it was the local mayor, Emir Kir, who opposed the conference, Mr De Croo said that while municipal autonomy was a cornerstone of Belgium’s democracy, it could “never overrule the Belgian constitution guaranteeing the freedom of speech”.

Except it just did. In a discussion about this story on Reddit UK Politics, a commenter called “suiluhthrown78” offered some background:

The local mayor Emir Kir who did this has quite a history, Tower hamlets style politics is nothing compared to whats been brewing in Belgium, France etc.

“Emir Kir was considered a party vote machine. High scores which can be explained by threats and intimidation, the sending of targeted letters and the distribution of leaflets in Turkish with adapted content and oriented, sometimes going so far as to shake up the other candidates on its own list and electoral expenses that are not always transparent”

This morning comes this, as reported by the Guardian: “Ursula von der Leyen can run, but can she also hide?”

Ursula von der Leyen became president of the European Commission in a backroom deal in 2019 without facing Europe’s voters. Now she is running for re-election almost without campaigning. The former German defence minister, 65, was chosen unopposed last month as lead candidate of the centre-right European People’s party for the European parliament elections on 6-9 June, although she does not plan to take a seat in the EU legislature. Since then, she has shunned media questioning as far as possible, and is refusing to commit to debating the other candidates in public.

She has not confirmed that she will show up for the high-profile Maastricht debate on 29 April, according to the organisers, and political sources say a major European newspaper had to drop plans to stage its own debate among the Spitzenkandidaten, or lead candidates, because von der Leyen would not pledge to attend.

Frustrated opponents are starting to taunt her as the invisible candidate. “Ursula von der Leyen is claiming to defend European democracy, yet she has refused to run in the European parliament elections, and has failed to clarify whether she will participate in any of the election debates,” Dutch MEP Bas Eickhout, co-lead candidate of the Greens, said last week.

Her coyness is at least partly due to a political cronyism scandal that is dogging her path to a second coronation. Von der Leyen is avoiding questioning about her decision to appoint fellow German Christian Democrat MEP Markus Pieper as the EU commission’s first envoy for small and medium-sized enterprises, even though he was reportedly rated below two female contenders for the highly paid role by an independent selection committee.

In a non-binding amendment adopted by 382 votes to 144, the European parliament called last week for the controversial appointment, first revealed in February by two investigative journalists, to be rescinded and the contest run again.

The cronyism scandal has been bubbling away for some time, but I was pleased to see the Guardian reporting it in such uncompromising terms.

10 comments to Suddenly the EU is looking like a parody of itself

  • DiscoveredJoys

    If Emir Kir is a ‘machine politician’ then he is ‘safe’ from criticism in his home patch. Other machine politicians are obliged to feed the machine that supports them with whatever stirs the emotions most.

  • Ian

    Maybe I’ve been watching too much of the David Suchet Poirot recently…

    “[municipal autonomy can] never overrule the Belgian constitution guaranteeing ze freedom of speech”

  • Paul Marks

    This has happened before in Brussels – with the number one political party in the opinion polls often harassed (its events closed down on absurd grounds).

    But it is part of an international movement to ban dissent as “Hate Speech”, “Discriminatory Speech” or whatever.

    In the United Kingdom this goes back as the Act of 1965 – which not only banned private people from “discriminating” (being called a “discriminating person” went from being a complement to being a crime) as the 1964 American Act did – no the 1965 British Act went further and banned the expression of opinions as “incitement to racial hatred” – most people said “well that only hits racists – so why should I care?” but it was the thin-end-of-the-wedge.

    Now basically any expression of conservative dissent may, if not now – then soon, attract the attention of the police or other authorities.

  • Paul Marks

    As for the philosophical position of the Frankfurt School “Critical Theory” Marxist influenced people (who now dominate both government and Corporate bureaucracies) – it is a mess.

    For example, this local Mayor (like just about all leftists – internationally) accused the conservatives of both “Islamophobia” and “Homophobia” – it does not seem to occur to leftists that Islam is “homophobic” – so if they, the left, were serious about their doctrine that opposition to homosexual acts is some sort of crime, they (the left) would ban Islam.

    My own view is that neither Islam nor homosexual acts should be banned – and neither should criticism of either of these things.

    Such a position, according to the international establishment, makes me a Thought Criminal.

    And it makes you, gentle reader, a Thought Criminal.

  • Paul Marks

    It is not just the E.U. – although all E.U. countries must (by its rules) have (“Critical Theory” inspired) “Hate Speech” laws – it is the entire international establishment, including the United States – a couple more leftists on the Supreme Court and the 1st Amendment, and the rest of the Bill of Rights, is dead.

    And, please note, it includes Mr Putin – who is also a supporter of Hate Speech laws.

  • Paul Marks

    Urusla von der Leyen is “centre right” in the same nonsense way that the Economist magazine (this week pushing killing adults “assisted dying” as “Britain’s next great social reform” – as if all the “great social reforms” had not done enough harm) is “centre right” – in that she is always pushing more government spending and “Woke” regulations.

    “The Greens are worse” – no doubt they are, but that just means they will destroy society quicker than Urusla von der Leyen would.

    That is what political discourse has come to in the West – the “debate” is between the quick death of society and the slower death of society. Not killing society is not presented as an option.

    It least the far left (unlike the Economist magazine types – who pretend to be “Classical Liberals” as they push ever more Fiat Money, Credit Bubble finance, and Welfare State spending) are open in their hatred for “capitalist” society.

  • Philippe Hermkens

    indeed i prefered a communist or a fanatical muslim to an journalist writing in the Economist They are at lesat honnest in their writings

  • Stuart Noyes

    We are hardly squeeky clean. Tommy Robinson is politically persecuted by the state. An elderly person removed by the police from a party conference for heckling under terrorism laws.

  • Paul Marks

    Phillippe Hermkens – yes.

    Stuart Noyes – yes.

  • Y. Knott


    I fear the EU as a construction (pastiche?) of somewhat like-minded countries, was a noble-but doomed social experiment that’s likely going to fail in the long run – IMHO, of course – and now that a country has left it, the door is open and its ultimate breakup is likely inevitable. Again IMHO, it’s always had two glaring flaws:

    1) Its government. The EU Parliament may rant, and rave, and pass whatever proto-legislation it likes but ultimately, all decisions are made by the Council, and are final. The Council selects its own members, and is beholden to nobody; and this makes it no less an autarky than Nazism, communism or the Divine Right of Kings – and also makes it dreadfully susceptible to fanatical starry-eyed adherence to the latest progressive fad. Hence, global warming; and hence, COVID response. The people effectively have no representation on the Council, and this has ended badly many times in recent centuries.

    2) The Euro. A communal currency leads naturally to imbalances, with “givers” and “takers” – which somewhat works when times are good, and leads to furious resentments when times are bad. Back when times were good, the industrious North provided the Euros that were then lapped-up by the economically-challenged South; but now Germany, the EU’s economic powerhouse, has willingly placed itself in the ugly horns of the Energiewende, and cripplingly high electricity prices are driving German manufacturers out of the country, or into bankruptcy – so who will provide the revenue streams that the EU’s southern social leeches are still all-too-dependent on? I fear this will not end well.

    My two-cents’ worth…

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