The racist populism of European Commissioner Oetinger is unacceptable

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Commissioner Oettinger just like any other person on this planet knows well the calamities
this arrogance brought on Europe and the whole planet. Image Source: Kosmopolito

According to news sources the European Commissioner for Energy, Guenther Oettinger offered an interview in the German mass-circulation newspaper Bild where he said, among others, that the flags of countries that fail to comply to budget rules (the “fiscal sinners”) should be put at half mast outside EU buildings.

Had this been expressed by a Bild columnist I would not have bothered commenting upon since the people there have confused populism with journalism on a series of occasions around issues that relate to the crisis of the Euro. However this hybris came out of the mouth of a person who represents 500 million European citizens and who is at the top level of EU officials, hence it cannot be ignored.

Commissioner Oettinger is German and belongs to the Christian Democrat party, which is the dominant party in the coalition that governs Germany (it is the party of Chancellor Merkel). Yet his position as a top-ranked EU official does – or should – neutralize his affiliation with both his country of origin and his political party. Mr. Oettinger just like any other European official is appointed to serve the totality of European citizens and not to represent his/her country or party interests.

The populism and hatred speech that exists in Germany and elsewhere, towards people of the European South does not justify anyhow the offensive statement of Commissioner Oettinger. Mr. Oettinger should be searching for ways to convince national politicians that the crisis is systemic, to revise their self-defeating austerity obsessions and to abandon the populism that they have adopted lately. Oettinger chose to fuel this racist populism instead.

Commissioner Oettinger just like any other person on this planet knows well the calamities this arrogance brought on Europe and the whole planet. Hatred speech, groundless stereotypes and opportunist/populist political talk were the reasons that Europe was plunged into suffering.

The main reason the EU is a blessing for its people is because it drove away these ghosts of the past. It is unacceptable that a European official is indirectly cultivating those ghosts, just as many others are already doing.

I as a European citizen, as an individual who believes in an ever-closer union, expect Commissioner Oettinger to publicly apologize for his offensive statements.