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OPINION

European Parliament Election Test of Geopolitical Realities

the flag of the european union flying in front of storm clouds
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Dr. Lucja Swiatkowski Cannon By Wednesday, 29 May 2024 03:46 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

On June 9, citizens of the European Union will vote in election to the European Parliament. For the first time, the euro progressive coalition, which dominated this Parliament for about 30 years, is being challenged by what some call “populist” parties.

They will certainly gain in stature but the question is if it will be enough to challenge the unpopular traditional leftist mainstream policies, such as open borders or European Green Order. The outcome will have far-reaching consequences not only in Europe but in the United States and beyond.

The European Parliament is actually not a Parliament as it has no legislative power. It is an influential advisory body to other European institutions.

Ryszard Legutko, former Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformers Group of the European Parliament, argues that it does not represent its voters but rather is a tool of imposing its own views on them. These views are shaped by thousands of radical non-governmental organizations (NGO’s).

The European Parliament, and by extension other European institutions, are at the apex of a centralized system, which has no democratic representation but which responds politically to policy advice of unelected NGOs, extensive lobbying and influence peddling through bribes and lucrative outside jobs of its members.

These NGOs are organized and financed by outside interest groups, which lack transparency and accountability, and it is not clear whose interests they represent.

Alternatively, the Parliament itself sponsors NGOs politically and financially. Its grantee NGOs are not transparent in relation to who they are, their finances and international connections.

This system never served citizens of European countries, but, instead, nefarious corporate and outside power interests.

It is not only the NGOs that became transmission belts for foreign money into European institutions. They are also enveloped by thousands of lobbyists, foremost of which is Gazprom, advocating for interests of the Russian government.

Most notorious are Gazprom efforts among German politicians, which led to the European dependence on Russian gas. Close links are demonstrated by a marriage of a spokeswoman of the European Foreign Minister to the Gazprom lobbyist.

Further, European Parliament deputies, despite their lavish pay, are free to hold outside jobs. This gives rise to numerous opportunities, from the same entities they are supposed to regulate.

But the biggest problem of the European Parliament is not only a lack of transparency, corruption, and secret political connections but that it itself funds radical leftist NGOS that do not accept democracy and free market economic system.

For example, it gives political and financial support to its partner the Cross Border Talks NGO whose podcast “is to look at both Western hegemonic and anti-Western totalizing narratives from the outside and offer an interpretation of events…” This podcast is a cooperative effort with the Polish journal Our Arguments, which evokes its Stalinist original Our Pathways.

This podcast is part of a stable of the Austria-based foundation transform! Europe, which forms a network of progressive European organizations and voices, partially financed by the European Parliament.

Its mission is “to organize and support research that analyses the forms of these struggles, the ways in which they are connected to the concept of the Commons, and how they can lead to a strategy that unifies the struggles, which, in combination, might prefigure another social and economic system.”

Its members are organizations like the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Forward Foundation, Journal of Radical Left, Foundation of Marxist Studies, and such.

The Forward Foundation describes itself as the radical European Left, the Fifth International and “to the left of social democracy.” Since former Polish communists described themselves after 1989 as “Social Democracy of Poland,” and sit in the European Parliament, representing the Civic Platform party, this group appears to be more left radical than them.

It is associated with other organizations, such as the Red History, the Barricades, and cooperating and sharing reporters with Trybuna, a new version of the old communist newspaper Trybuna Ludu, established in 1948.

All these organizations publish on topics of EU regulations, rule of law, migration, economic policy, anti-capitalism, red class feminism or ecological Marxism. Thus, the European Parliament politically and financially supports groups that are more radical than the old Soviet communists and reject democracy and free market.

Needless to say, this status quo of dominance of radical left and the corrupt usurps for itself the sovereign power of the European Union, imposes top-down policies on its member states by a technocratic elite often on recommendations of radical NGOs.

At the same time, it limits any democratic input by national governments. The result is dogmatic and unpopular policies, which are increasingly rejected by the European populus.

In face of challenge by ordinary citizens, the EU refuses to re-examine its assumptions, though making small temporary concessions here and there, to keep its position. The overwhelming theme of this year’s Parliamentary election is that you must choose between Europe and Russia; Europe being the radical left EU mainstream and Russia being its populist challengers.

The height of absurdity of this accusation is heard in Poland where Prime Minister Tusk, formerly President of the European Council and protégé of Angela Merkel, is accusing his opponents the Law and Justice Party of being pro-Russian, which until a few weeks ago was being accused of being radically anti-Russian and likely to start a war with Russia.

This is done through the mouth of a general who as the chief of Polish military counterintelligence agency in the previous Tusk government, signed a cooperation agreement with the Russian FSB in 2013 and allegedly revealed NATO secrets and allowed Russian officers free roaming through Polish military facilities.

In another instance of the Orwellian logic, Tusk just announced $2 billion to be spent on defending Poland’s border with Belarus, subject to migrant attacks facilitated by Moscow. Until a few weeks ago, Tusk was accusing the former Law and Justice government, which was doing exactly the same thing, of racism, sexism, state-sponsored violence and moral deficiency and heaped whatever venom he could on the border guards, whom he regarded as warped heavies, beating and abusing poor migrants.

In the current environment of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and hybrid warfare against the West, the European Parliament can be manipulated to create divisions in European support for Ukraine and promote destructive domestic policies.

NGOs act as opaque channels of foreign interference from likely authoritarian polities, which are hostile to the West. Already before the war, Russia spent $300 million in payments to corrupt Western politicians, according to a State Department report.

The European Parliament is discredited politically and intellectually, and vulnerable not only to corruption but to penetration by hostile powers. Its system of quasi-democracy by radical NGOs is a threat to Western unity, security and democratic integrity.

Yet it is not taking serious action to regain its credibility on any level. It needs a systemic transformation, not another sweep under a rug and business as usual.

War in Ukraine did not induce a greater sense of reality on the European Parliament and other EU institutions. NGOs continue to be carriers of foreign interference, Russian lobbyists still roam the halls, corruption is unpunished, and radical orthodoxy reins.

This is a threat not only to democracy and security in Europe but also to its partner the United States and to the common defense in NATO. We will soon see how much longer European citizens are willing to tolerate this state of affairs.

Dr. Lucja Swiatkowski Cannon is a senior research fellow at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. She was a strategist, policy adviser and project manager on democratic and economic reforms in Eastern Europe, the Baltics, and Central, South and Southeast Asia for Deloitte & Touche Emerging Markets, Coopers & Lybrand, and others. She has been an adjunct scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Dr. Cannon received a B.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Columbia University where she was an International Fellow and IREX Scholar at Warsaw University, and the London School of Economics. Read more of Swiatkowski Cannon's reports Here.

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DrLucjaSwiatkowskiCannon
War in Ukraine did not induce a greater sense of reality on the European Parliament and other EU institutions. NGOs continue to be carriers of foreign interference, Russian lobbyists still roam the halls, corruption is unpunished, and radical orthodoxy reins.
european union, russia
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2024-46-29
Wednesday, 29 May 2024 03:46 PM
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