By Andreas C Chrysafis
The campaigns for the next elections for the European Parliament, scheduled for May 23-26, 2019, have already begun in earnest. A total of 751 parliamentary openings are currently up for grabs by those fortunate enough to secure a seat in one of the most lucrative and privileged positions on offer anywhere.
E.U. salaries and the perks of European Union Members of Parliament (MEP’s) are nothing to sneeze at. Each receives a gross salary of €7957 monthly; €4342 per month office cost reimbursement, and all their domestic and international travel expenses are paid.
In addition, they receive a €306-per-day travel allowance and other privileges. With such incentives on the table, it makes the job of an MEP seem like manna from heaven and who would want to miss out on such an opportunity? The only qualification seemingly necessary is the “gift of gab” or to be a member of a political party.
It is no wonder aspiring politicians and party faithful, including journalists, media personalities and television presenters, add their names to the list of hopeful candidates in hopes of securing such a prestigious and well-remunerated political career.
In the meantime, a fierce battle is underway between all the political parties offering promises to lure voters but also to appeal to prospective candidates who are less likely to win a seat in the next European Parliament — a parliament that in fact has no legitimacy!
In smaller nations, the overrated E.U. parliamentary elections become the main topic of public affairs. All the local political parties attempt to make deals and counter-deals on selecting a mutually agreed-upon candidate on the chance that they can win a seat for the party.
Meanwhile, mass media and the government add to the frenzy, as if the E.U. elections are a godsend and so important to people’s lives that they cannot be ignored.
This year, however, all the political parties share an underlying problem; they fear the rise of nationalist movements. Those candidates opposed to E.U. policies are showing strong signs of gaining critical votes all across Europe.
They now pose a serious challenge, and can tip the balance of power inside the chamber of the European Parliament. In so doing, they could change the entire E.U. parliamentary culture forever.
Teeming with hundreds of politicians, the E.U. “Parliament” was originally created with one specific purpose in mind — to use its democratic voting status as a means to rubberstamp the Council’s rulings, and in so doing legitimize the E.U. institution as a democratic entity.
It is a known fact that MEPs have no role to play in the E.U. decision-making process or certainly in actions agreed upon behind closed doors between the unelected Commission and Council. As the main body authorized to amend and adopt laws and coordinate policies for the entire European Union, only the “Mighty Commission” can make those decisions.
Yet elected E.U. parliamentarians are obliged to give their stamp their approval to policies presented to them by unelected bureaucrats!
When an elected parliament has no legitimacy or the power to make decisions, adopt laws or introduce policies in the interest of the people, it cannot be called a parliament but a lame institution. And that’s where parliamentary democracy ends.
The rest is a shambolic act based on a misconception by a non-elected and undemocratic, supranational organization in pursuit of European supremacy.
There is a public illusion that MEPs are elected to represent the interests of the voters in their own country but that’s far from the truth. In fact it’s a total fallacy and a lie. Once elected, MEPs often change hats. They suddenly become committed to make decisions in the interest of the entire European Union, and not of their own country, which has been reduced to a “province” of the E.U.
BREXIT this year will certainly shake up the E.U. and will likely become the catalyst to trigger a domino effect for other states to exit the Union. It promises to be the most significant revolution since the inception of the Union, and this nightmarish scenario sends shivers down the spine of the E.U. and Europhiles.
Meanwhile, member states are anxiously waiting to see the final outcome of this political nightmare, which will surely upset the cozy E.U. relationship between governments and banking institutions.
There are clear signs of irreconcilable differences between the Commission members, and some member states are resisting the unsavory metamorphosis the E.U. is going through. From its original concept of an economic common market, the Union has become an unwieldy political entity in pursuit of its own army and control over the lives of 512.6 million citizens!
Considering the current political situation, it is reasonable to assume that Article 50 for an E.U. exit will be repeated again some day soon. The obvious rancor between Emmanuel Macron and Matteo Salvini offers a clear picture of policy discord among E.U. leaders attempting to protect their own national interests; breakups appear inevitable.
The most serious problem facing E.U. member states today is the ever-increasing flow of thousands of illegal migrants and “asylum” seekers, which the Commission refuses to deal with. It has chosen to wash its hands by paying billions of compensation to others to deal with the problem.
Obsessed with its “Open Borders” policy, the E.U. refuses to accept responsibility for actually encouraging the torrent of humanity which now threatens the social stability and the demographic character of Europe!
Without question, a new generation of citizens has discovered they have a voice and can no longer remain silent to injustices. They feel deceived by governments and they openly speak out by turning their back on the established order and political parties which have betrayed their aspirations.
The “Yellow Jackets” uprising in France against a failed system is just such an example of the peoples’ resistance to unfair treatment in a wealthy country.
The ugly scenes of angry mass demonstrations in the streets of France, Greece and other European countries speak a thousand words; they speak of a letdown by governments and E.U. policymakers which failed them miserably. They are taking to the streets, demanding radical changes and no more shallow promises!
Only the people of Cyprus seem reluctant to protest for changes to the status quo — yet, astoundingly, the island continues to absorb the highest ratio of refugees in comparison to its tiny population.
Citizens have come to recognize that national governments and the E.U. have both reneged on their promises to provide security and social stability in a land of plenty, democracy and equality. In contrast, they have managed to reawaken nationalism everywhere — and that is the stuff that revolutions are made of!
If, during the upcoming elections, nationalist parties accumulate enough decisive votes in Parliament, things will never be the same again for the European Union. For better or worse, the E.U. would be forced to recognize its own failures, and accept the truth that the “One Happy E.U. Family” does not exist – because it never did!
Andreas C Chrysafis is a UK-published author of over 400 press articles and six books. He is an advocate of democracy, transparency, equality and human rights. His Twitter handle is @ac_chrysafis