EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn defends ‘European way of life’ portfolio

Pressure has been mounting on Ursula von der Leyen to change a Commissioner’s title after it drew criticism from members of the EU’s parliament.

But in an interview with Euronews, Johannes Hahn, an Austrian European commissioner, defended the Commission’s President-elect, stating that the title EU Commissioner for “protecting the European way of life” should stay.

“I think we have to promote the European way of life,” Hahn said.

Ursula Von der Leyen revealed the names of her new commissioners earlier this week, and Greek politician Margaritis Schinas was nominated to take on the newly created and now controversial Commission job.

The job’s portfolio includes migration, security, employment and education.

Outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker weighed in on the debate, telling Euronews: “I don’t like the idea that the European way of life is opposed to migration. Accepting those that come from far away is part of the European way of life,” he said, adding that the portfolio should be more precise.

Karima Delli, a French Green MEP who asked senior lawmakers in the European Parliament to send a letter to von der Leyen in support of changing the title, told Euronews: “what is completely unacceptable is that this name, which makes a link between immigration and protecting a European way of life, is the direct validation of the words of the far-right for whom immigrants are barbarians who threaten our way of life,”

Hahn, who is currently the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy And Enlargement Negotiations, had a different perspective on the term and thinks the title should stay.

He said that in the past people admired the “American dream”, but for the past 20 years he said, “no one is talking about the American way of life”.

“But I think we can be proud, we should be proud, and we should be more self-confident about the European way of life,” Hahn said.

Hahn will be the new EU Commissioner for Budget and Administration in Von der Leyen’s Commission.

Von der Leyen appeared to double down on the phrase by tweeting out a quote from the Treaty of Lisbon about European values which she defined as “Our European Way of Life”.

Watch Euronews’ political editor Darren McCaffrey’s report in the video player above.

Read the full article at: euronews.com