What really threatens our way of life
Incoming European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen has adopted the mindset of the far right, said Lieven Sioen. The former German defense minister has created a new EU role, the “vice president for protecting our European way of life,” whose occupant will handle migration policy. The obvious implication is that migrants somehow threaten our way of life, and that we must bolster “a white, Christian Europe against a Muslim and African invasion.” That is the thesis of Hungary’s far-right prime minister, Viktor Orban, who shut his borders in defiance of the EU during the 2015 migration crisis and has since rejected almost all those seeking asylum in his country. Our way of life is indeed under attack—but from people like Orban, not desperate refugees. Our European values are embodied by “the liberal constitutional state as it developed in the West, based on free elections, the rule of law, and universal human rights.” But Orban and his acolytes want to replace liberal democracy with authoritarian rule, by banning civil society organizations, controlling the media, and politicizing the courts. There’s been so much outrage over the new post that Von der Leyen is sure to backtrack. But the very fact that she made this mistake bodes ill for her five-year term as Europe’s top bureaucrat.