Saturday, July 05, 2003

Euroweenie alert!
Rosemary Righter sums up the EU Assembly hijinks I mentioned on Wednesday in Berlusconi must have an apology from the red rabble:
The occasion was a formal one, the presentation that takes place at the outset of each rotating EU presidency. Berlusconi treated it with appropriate seriousness, delivering an accomplished, thoughtful speech. He, and the country he leads, were entitled to the customary courtesy of an adult debate on its substance.

What did he get? Before he even opened his mouth, a raucous claque of Green and left-wing MEPs waved placards plastered with the best insults they could plagiarise (the favourite, “No Godfather for Europe”, was a lift from Der Spiegel’s oh-so-witty cover story). His speech was greeted by a barrage of invective, all of it ad hominem, much of it infantile, some of it contemptible — the French Communist’s calling the Berlusconi Government “barbaric” or the Belgian MEP’s accusing him of laying Italy waste as did Attila the Hun. Martin Schulz, the deservedly obscure German Socialist now enjoying his 15 minutes of fame, was the last in a discreditable line-up of nincompoops who disgraced democracy by their inability to tell the difference between free speech and the political equivalent of a wrecker’s demolition ball.
Right, then. The rowdy Red-Green bunch conspired to drown out Berlusconi’s speech because it is not just Citizen Berlusconi the media tycoon whom they fear and detest, but his ambitions to make Europe less bureaucratic, more outward- looking and capable of adult partnership with America. Nor will they forgive his inexcusable presumption in asserting that Italians have as much right as the French or Germans to be heard in Europe’s councils.
Andrew Stuttaford sums up at The Corner:
Corrupt (check out how they pay themselves), self-important (all those declarations) and futile (what does it actually do?), the European ‘parliament’ has long been a disgrace, but it is revealing to see how often its MEPS use the chamber as the site for demonstration rather than debate. The reason? In the absence of a genuine shared political culture across ‘Europe’ there is nothing to debate. The EU’s ‘democracy’ is theatre and its members are nothing more than actors – over-indulged, overpaid but, alas, not yet over.