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The Union’s Ouroboros

Donald Tusk with former Romanian President Traian Basescu | Flickr - European People's Party

By Ioan Bucuraș

Shots fired. The East-West divide is back, alive and kicking.

Today, newly elected Conservative MEP and former Romanian President – Traian Basescu – accused Western European states of completely isolating Eastern Europe, first around the Eurozone, and now by not nominating anyone for a top job position.

If we’re to put our pragmatic glasses on: the single currency needs consolidation and perhaps a fiscal authority with heightened budgetary controls. It does make sense to focus on the states that actually adopted the single currency – and the vast majority of Eastern states have not. So it’s hard to believe that there’s malevolence involved.

Secondly, from Poland to Romania, from Czechia to Bulgaria, governmental forces seemed to bicker simultaneously against the EU over the last few years, condemning its strong stance on the rule of law and human rights, by filling the public space with populist propaganda (remember Soros, migration, LGBT rights and all the rest?). So why be at the helm of something you so dearly tried to bash and distort?

If these “evil Westerners” were so much against the East, how come they did not have any problem nominating a Romanian to lead a political group in the European Parliament for the first time ever? Well, maybe because the political alliance which he represented campaigned fiercely in favour of the EU, its values, the rule of law and also adopted a federalist stance, which is, by all means unique in this part of Europe. The analogy is simple. You don’t nominate an atheist to be the pope. You either believe in some values and practice them, or you don’t. It’s as simple as that. Punk rock and classical music just don’t fit well together, do they?

Like an Ouroboros, the mythical dragon-snake that swallows its own tail, we are circling around in an endless spiral of unsubstantiated accusations, instead of moving forward together. The whole narrative of “Easterners are the lesser Europeans” is repeatedly used by populists coming from the East to cover their own misdoings and stir up emotions the same way nationalists in the UK or France use it to trigger the fear factor.

It’s high time that we’ve moved on.

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