The Greek commissioner with responsibility for the “protection of the European way of life”, Margaritis Schinas, on Thursday defended his portfolio in front of MEP criticism.
Left-wing parliamentary groups are calling upon the future president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen to abandon the title of this portfolio linking migration and the “protection of the European way of life.”
The new European executive must start work on November following a series of hearings with the 26 commissioners and a vote in Parliament.
During his hearing, Schinas was questioned by MEP Sophie in’t Veld about the “toxic name”, “seen as a victory by the extreme right.” She demanded Schinas recognise the choice was a “mistake.”
“Between respect for all the arguments expressed on the one hand and (the) determination of (Mme von der Leyen) to listen and seek consensus, I am sure that time will provide an answer to the question you are asking me now,” Schinas said.
The former European Commission spokesman rejected the “negative” interpretations given to his portfolio, emphasising that aside from migration it also embraced education, culture, employment, security, health and equality.
“Europe will always be a land of asylum,” he said, adding “But I must also be very clear that those who are ineligible for asylum will have to leave.”
The Brussels Times