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Oct 05, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

German MEP Katarina “starve them out” Barley strikes again

In an interview with Der Spiegel, Katarina Barley, the EP vice president who caused scandal a few days ago for proposing to “starve out” Hungary and Poland, strikes again.

It’s difficult to decide what’s more alarming: Ms. Barley’s ignorance of actual facts or her complete disregard for the most essential elements of rule of law in the European Union.

Just last week, the German Social Democrat caused an international incident for proposing that “Hungary and Poland must be financially starved out.” Now, in an interview with Der Spiegel published on Sunday evening, Katarina Barley, a vice president of the European Parliament, said that over the last ten years, Prime Minister Orbán has been “working on dismantling the rule of law [in Hungary] bit by bit.”

However, knowing Barley’s history of changing her quotes and claiming to be misquoted, I wonder if she will once again try to alter her own words in retrospect. It’s remarkable that the MEP just can’t stop, especially in light of last week’s offense when she pulled a surprising move and simply blamed her previous statement on public radio station Deutschlandfunk. She then clarified that what she had really meant was for the EU to “starve out Viktor Orbán,” not Hungary.

If this had been the first time I met the classic modus operandi of George Soros’s left-liberal, all-star orchestra in the European Parliament, I would have actually believed her. But not after employing the same tactics over and over again. The recipe is simple:

Step one: Take aim at entire nations, Hungary and Poland in this case.

Step two: Test the waters and people’s level of tolerance with a provocative statement. Withdraw it if it goes beyond the red line.

Step three: Come up with a biased, one-sided definition of “rule of law” and turn it into a weapon against governments that don’t fall in line with the liberal orthodoxy on key policy areas like migration.

Step four: If they’re still standing, resort to blackmail.

Step five: If your enemies still haven’t given up, then the problem must lie within the system. Try to change the rules of the game. Still nothing? Repeat from step one.

Vice President Barley, unfortunately, seems to have reached the final steps, taking issue with the way the EU functions according to the Treaties. Read between the lines, and it becomes apparent that the European Parliament Vice President would prefer to have all the power in the EP’s hands. I get it. It’s an inconvenience to ideologues and political activists to have their hands tied by the rule of law – in this case, other EU bodies, like the Council, which have the final say on certain important questions.

The Treaties are clear about the distribution of powers and competencies between the member states and EU institutions: Overwriting them should not be subjected to politics. It’s a matter of consensus and the amendment of the Treaties, if new conditionalities are, in fact, required.