Friday, 13 February 2009

European Parliament elections 2009 (50): The European People's Party (EPP) manifesto

The manifesto of the European People's Party (EPP) comes in two versions, a short one of 4 pages and the full manifesto which counts 31 pages.

Actually, both versions are just drafts, because the EPP Congress that will approve them only meets at on 29-30 April in Warsaw. Nevertheless, let's have a look into them and compare them with the three other manifestos - ELDR's and PES' and the one of the UEL - already discussed in this blog.

First remark: The short version of the EPP manifesto is longer than the ELDR manifesto, and the full version is 10 times longer as the ELDR manifesto and double as long as the PES manifesto.

The order of priorities of the EPP is clear, both in the short and in the full version:
  • the economic crisis
  • fighting crime and terrorism
  • climate change
  • the aging society
  • the European institutions
The PES' order of priority is are first the crisis, then the "new social Europe", climate change, gender equality, migration, and at last peace and security. For ELDR, civil liberties come before growth and employment, climate change and energy securty and at last institutional issues and international relations.

The short EPP manifesto highlights the "Judeo-Christian foundation" and its roots in the "Enlightenment". EPP urges against nationalistic tendencies and asks for a strong European Union, while renouncing from "dangerous" socialist recipes. The biggest threat is the "totalitarian jihadist terrorism" and the EU should act against climate change, also during the economic crisis. When it comes to its neighbourhood, the Union should differentiate its actions between the different countries while building on joint standards for human rights in a so-called "Neighbourhood Charter".

In the full version, the most relevant additions are the request to enlarge the Eurozone to more countries and the demand for Europe-wide reduction of taxes and simplification of tax systems. There is the demand to bring human rights to "the Muslim world" but only a minimal recourse to civil liberties. Illegal immigration should be fought, inter alia by a European Coast Guard. The CAP should foster diversity in production to guarantee food security. Part of the EPP strategy to combat climate change includes nuclear energy and the development of trans-European railway system in order to replace air travel. Migration as an opportunity to tackle the demographic changes only exists with a question mark.

The full document is rather lengthy, and I doubt that many will read the 30 pages. The short version is a bit too general, although one understands quite well on what the EPP parties were able to agree on. But since one can read the two documents together, it is still possible to focus on certain issues one is most interested in.

Altogether, the EPP manifesto presents a quite expectable content, nothing that seems worth highlighting, but also not much that is very controversial. Its the mix of centrist, conservative, and mild-progressive thoughts that is re-united in the EPP. It leaves enough space for national interpretations, so that the national campaigns can cherry-pick and present to their voters what seems to be most appropriate.

It's mostly rational politics, and less vision. It's not the "New Europe", but its "EU continuation". It's not provocative, it's just another manifesto.

Under the category "European parliament elections 2009" I am following up national and European activities on the path to the European Parliament elections 2009.

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rz said...

It's not the "New Europe", but its "EU continuation". It's ... (?)

did you want to add something here?

In principle it would be good if the EPP would take more of a "limited (Brussels) gouvernment" approach, and this would contrast with a "stronger government" approach offered by the PES. This would maybe allow the EPP to constructively include moderate Eurosceptics and drain the UKIP fever swamps.

Julien Frisch said...

I have completed the last sentence (thanks @rz of the hint!).

@rz: I am not sure that EPP, PES, or ELDR would be the right players to incorporate eurosceptic (anti-Brussels) positions. They are too much pro-European and too much establishment in order to take over these positions. Hover, I suppose that some national EPP parties will still use the opportunity of the EP elections for some Brussels-bashing.