Blocking progress or progressing towards a stronger and united European Union? This has been one of the core questions before the European Parliament elections. Right-wing and other populist parties haven’t been shy to claim that it is their fundamental objective to put national interests first and that they are willing to block consensus, thereby preventing progress in essential policy issues. They expected that these claims would secure important votes by EU-sceptics.
The most recent blockade by very few leaders of EU Member States who prevented unanimous agreement on the proposed decarbonisation target in the final declaration at the EU summit is such an example. However, while this case is proof for blocking consensus, it also proves that such a destructive policy is not in the interest of ‘the(ir) people’. Unless you belong to those (few) people still ignoring science and thinking that climate change is not man-made or “doesn’t exist”, you will endorse that we need to agree on ambitious goals to slow down ‘global warming’ by reducing CO2 emissions as soon as possible.
If there was a justifiable question in this context at the EU Summit it would have been whether 2050 was still too late a date for the Member States’ zero net emission target. The issue is too serious to accept any delay. But it is widely reported that at least the prime ministers of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, Hungary, Victor Orbán, and the Czech Republic, Andrej Babiš, prevented agreement on the decarbonisation target by 2050 altogether. This position not only precluded a demonstration of unity, but results in a further delay of the political action needed for the future not just all of people in Europe, but of this planet.
Asked for their reason to block a common position, Andrej Babiš is quoted as saying: “Why should we decide 31 years ahead of time what will happen in 2050?” This leaves us all quite stunned, speechless and, yes, angry. There are so many answers to this stupid quote, e.g.: “Because if we don’t act, the consequences of inactivity will be disastrous”, “Because almost all wise political decisions should stand the test of time and have positive consequences for the future”. And so on.
Taking such a position, like Andrej Babiš did, reveals a high level of incompetence. In the case of Mr Babiš one might also ask if he acts in this way because of previous exposure by a report which resulted in a call for an investigation into the likely misuse of EU funds by a company owned by Babiš. There are without a doubt conflicting interests of the Czech billionaire.
The Czech public is certainly outraged by the situation and it is reported that on the weekend 250.000 people joined a protest in Prague calling on their prime minister to step down from office. And while the pressure on Andrej Babiš is mounting, this example also illustrates the importance of progressing procedures to ensure that such unqualified, irrational positions can no longer block necessary progress in such important policy issues.
Founder of SHIFTING VALUES and one of the founders of the #loveyouEU initiative