9.6.09

Sorman: Europe rejects leftists

Thanks to my friend here is translation of my interview with French conservative thinker Guy Sorman. He comments results of Sunday's euro-elections. The article was published in POLSKA The Times.

Sorman: Europe turns right

First results show that the Europeans have voted for right wing parties. Europe is getting conservative?

If the poll results are confirmed, we will witness first mass rejection of left-wing ideas since 20 years. People no longer believe in social democratic agenda.

How would you explain that sudden change of voter’s moods?

There is a strong conviction that the left has nothing to offer in time of crisis. All socialist parties have criticized the Union, the competition and the free market. But they could not have offered anything instead. The left has shown symptoms of intellectual crisis since a long time. I would even say that these political parties have intellectually bankrupted. That is why, the left wing parties have won so little voter’s support all around Europe.

Are you saying that this was the ultimate defeat of the socialists?

In France for example, the socialist party has failed completely. Remember that during the crisis, people feel more secure when they are governed by politicians who respect conservative values, also in economy. It is an anti-Marxist conclusion, as the Marxists claim that it is the left wing that benefits from the crisis. But this is not true. The crisis damages the left, because what gives hope in that time is a transition towards conservative values such as the truth, the property rights, the family or the free market.

So yesterday, by voting for the right wing, almost all Europeans rejected the policy of government intervention in economy. They do not agree for the left wing policy of bailouts, government help for the banks, increase of taxes and increase of budget deficit?

Exactly, that is how I interpret the election results. They show support for the Polish conservative government, which refrained from interventions. Similarly, the Germans have manifested their encouragement for the conservatives in power. The same was true for France. Yesterday the voters declared loud and clear that they want the free market rules to be respected. They said no to increase of the budget deficit. Therefore, the British socialists have lost.

The Europeans want to the free market to remain the only solution to the economic crisis. They do not want to follow in footsteps of the President of the United States, who applies widely the interventional policy.

The right wing parties focus also on the problem of Europe’s islamization.
I do not see that as a major problem. We should spate rhetoric from the facts. The belief that Europe will be overrun by Islam might be effective in the countries of Benelux or Scandinavia, where live many Muslims. This is a question of immigrant’s integration. It seems to me that in a short time, France will be able to show how to integrate the immigrants in the society.
Today, only 2 in 10 marriages are between Muslims. The rest are mixed couples. So from a sociological point of view, it seems that there is no point to worry. Europe will work out a model of integration that will be attractive for the immigrants.

The victory of Geert Wilders seems to contradict such a conclusion. His party sees islamisation as a fundamental issue.

It is a Jean Marie Le Pen syndrome. Perhaps, we need such a charismatic politician. But I would certainly not treat his win as a victory of chauvinism or fascism, despite that this is how some media want to comment this result. The voters has shown their support just because the politician was popular. And this was partly due to the efforts of the media that made him famous. He had his five minutes. Whe should not assume that there is a redical shift in the Dutch politics. Wilders will disappear just as Le Pen did.

One of the british commentators said that this are again failed elections. You seem to be more optimistic.

For me the elections are neither depressing nor uplifting. I think that the results and even the turonouts are nowhere near as important as the fact that there have been elections. And there was a festive mood. It is crucially important that people all around Europe can cast their vote. We tend to forget too easily about the historical context of the elections to the European Parliament. For the fifteen memeber states that joined the Union after 1989 it is still a novel experience.

But in Poland, the turnout was just over 20 percent. To me this could mean that the other 80 percent refuses to be governed by representatives from the distant Brussels.
I do not think this is a reason to be concerned. What is most important is that these people can vote. In my opinion those who did not cast their vote were also aware that this was an important day in their lives. They knew this was an opportunity to make a significant decision. And I do not doubt that they too feel Europeans.

But they did not think voting was important.
Maybe many have already forgotten what the Europe is.
But this is not a reason to despair. That is how democracy works: when you finally win it, you forget it has to be used and defended. That is also true for Europe: you treat it as a feeling, as something very natural in the daily life.

In Poland, we have a practical attitude towards the Union: how much money will flow towards the agriculture, infrastructure, education.

Right, but if the Union will be treated as a cow to be milked, it will not develop. We need to remind the young that the European community was created in the fifties. The goal was to secure peace in Europe – this is the main purpose of the Union towards which all efforts should be directed. In other words: common economic policy, common currency and even the Parliament – all these are elements necessary to ensure stable peace. This was what Jean Monnet had on mind, when he was saying that we need to strive towards building solidarity. This is what the European elections are all about.


Perhaps, the Europeans want also that the Christian heritage was treated with more respect in the documents and the law of the Union?

You are most probably right. And also that many Europeans, just as here in Poland, want Christian values to be included in the Lisbon Treaty. The Europeans share center-right ideas. But I doubt a change in the Lisbon Treaty would be enacted soon. But in two, three years - maybe.

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