Report on the indecorous statement of Commissioner Guenther Oettinger

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The racist, populist statement of European Commissioner Guenther Oettinger that states should have their flags put at half mast for not complying to budget rules, could not remain unchallenged. Image Source: Kosmopolito

On September 8 the German mass-circulation newspaper Bild, published an interview with European Commisioner for Energy, Guenther Oettinger in which the Commissioner stated that the flags of countries that failed to comply to the budget rules, the “fiscal sinners”, should have their flags put at half mast outside EU buildings, as this would be an effective deterrent for countries to be fiscally “responsible” [For the absurdity of the “fiscal responsibility” rhetoric see The fiscal discipline delusion]. In other words the Commissioner suggested that countries should be humiliated in the most hideous of ways for failing to comply to some ill-advised budget rules whose results are more than apparent in today’s spiraling systemic crisis of the euro.

Once I came across the news story I wrote an article in which I advocated that European Commissioner Guenther Oettinger should publicly apologize for his racist and populist statement, since such speech does not comply with both his position as a top-ranked EU official and his responsibility vis a vis 27 equal member states and 500 million European citizens. A Commissioner, just like any other European official, once appointed into position stops representing his/her country or party interests.

In parallel to my article Member of European Parliament Rui Tavares, who also came across the indecorous statements of European Commissioner Oettinger, took the initiative to compose a letter to President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, asking for the recant of Oettinger’s statements or his resignation. In the website The Lisboners Mr. Tavares published an announcement titled Recant or resign: on Oettinger’s presposterous proposal. In the announcement Mr. Tavares offers a briefing of the event and also makes mention to me (Protesilaos Stavrou) and my blog and he finally includes the text of the letter to Barroso.

Yesterday I received a pdf file which contains the letter to Barroso and all the MEPs that signed it. The initiative was more than welcomed by MEPs from a vastly diverse country and party background and is considered to be a big success by the standards of the European Parliament. For those of you who are interested in the file you can click here to view the file.

We all now await the response of Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Regardless of what his response might be, we as European citizens should know that the only democratically legitimate institution in the current EU architecture is the European Parliament and we should not hesitate to express our views for all the wrong-doings of European officials. A vigilant civil society will take full advantage of the powers of the European Parliament for a more democratic and better European Union for all its citizens.

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Protesilaos Stavrou

EU policy analyst. Philosopher. Web developer.
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