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German EU Commissioner Oettinger ‘teaches’ European voters what to vote

The hell broke out on Tuesday afternoon, when European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources. Gunther Oettinger from German CDU claimed that “European voters should not vote for right populists or left parties.”

Reason for this unprecedented ‘teaching’ was the political turmoil in Italy and the prospect of new elections. Oettinger said this during an interview with German state media Deutsche Welle.

Quoting Oettinger, interviewer Bern Riegert tweeted:

Prompt was the respond by the diplomatic commission of Italy in the EU @ItalyinEU

“Italian democracy shall be respected by everyone. As always in our Republican history, Italians will vote freely and independently,” said @Italyin Eu in a follow up tweet.

Also the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, intervened and told Oettinger:

A correspondent in Brussels:

Meanwhile a correction of the first quote of Oettinger has been published:

Whether he said ‘teaches” or not, it makes little difference. The EU Commissioner made it even worse: he admitted that it it the markets and investors who rule and democracis in the Eurozone are a ‘farce.”

President of EU Commissioner issued a statement saying:

Hours later, Oettinger issued an apologizing statement saying:

“I fully respect the will of voters being left, right or centre and in every country. By referring to the actual market developments in Italy, I did not mean to be disrespectful and I apologise for this. Italy as a founding member played and plays an important role in European integration and I hope it will continue on this path.”

Dozens of Italian Twitter users replied to him ironic and not so flattering comments.

Italy’s political crisis

What Germany and the Italian President who initiated the whole issue do not seem to understand is they cannot put handcuffs to voters and take them to ballot centers with a ticked ballot in their mouth.

Several international commentators warn that the so-called “constitutional coup” will boost the right populists in the next elections expected to he held in late summer or autumn.

President Sergio Mattarella, triggered a political crisis in Italy when on May 27th he rejected university professor Paolo Savona as Minister of Economy and Finances who was proposed by the right/far-right wing elections winners who were about to form a government with law professor Giuseppe Conte as Prime Minister.

Mattarella strongly opposed him, considering Savona too Eurosceptic and anti-German. Mattarella declared that the two parties wanted to bring Italy out of the Eurozone, and as the guarantor of Italian Constitution and country’s interest and stability he could not allow this.

Conte returned the mandate to form the government, Mattarella gave the mandate to economic Carlo Cottarelli, a former employee at the international Monetary Fund.

The hell broke out in Italy and else where in Europe, with the main argument to be: Voting is one of the main principles of democracy and vote results should be respected, no matter what the outcome.

Immediately the markets reacted negative, with stock exchanges and the Euro in downwards trend.

The Italian government debt stands at €2.1 trillion (131.1% of GDP)

Immediate was also the response of Germany, with many of its media outlets to have started a war against Italy similar to the one against Greece during the crisis.

Renowned magazine Der Spiegel posted an opinion article that starts “How should we call a nation that first stretches the hand to borrow money in order to have a nice life founded by others and then it threatens its lenders when they recall the debt?” The scrounger of Rome is the title of the article bubbling over with German arrogance and quite a lot of envy for the rich Italian North.

for sure, Germany doe snot want another Euro-crisis, although everybody knows that Germany is the only country that wins from the euro-crises as 1. the low Euro benefits its exports and 2. investors rash to German bonds that attract marketers like the bees with the good old German economic security.

The point is at the end of the day and within just a few days we see again a South-North ‘War’ and anti-German sentiment sweeping again across Europe.

And, of course, there is also a dilemma that should in fact be no dilemma in democracies.

Shoud democracies respect voting results, not matter what?

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8 comments

  1. What exactly does a “populist” consist of? It seems that in Europe if you govern the way the establishment wants you to vote, then you are simply popular regardless of what you say or do or of the level of support you have. If, however, you govern (or promise to govern) in a way that challenges the prerogatives pf the establishment then all the sudden you morph into a populist with all the underlying derogatory implications that the term implies.

    So Macron despite the fact he has launched an all-out assault on the social state in France is “popular” (and this regardless of the fact he has nothing but contempt for the “populous” i.e. the people). So is Rajoy in Spain inspire of the fact he has been linked to more corruption scandals than there are fleas on a mangy dog. But Corbyn is a populist because his party’s slogan is “for the many, not the few.” The Italian voter is also a “populist” apparently because it supports “populist” parties (i.e. parties whose policies are not approved by the EU or, in other words, Germany).

    And we could go down the list. Europe is playing a very dangerous game trying to teach voters how to vote correctly. At some point there will be a very violent backlash.

  2. The UN needs to declare open hunting season on all banksters, economists and financial managers. They are a greater threat to humanity than all the nuclear weapons combined.

  3. The new European-German dictionary:
    1. Populist = Democrat politician, working for his people, hating the Germans
    2. Responsible politician = Lackey of the Germans and probably on their payroll
    3. Pro-europe politician = same as 2
    4. Reformist politician = same as 2
    5. Ultra right wing politician = same as 1
    6. German politician = Adolf worshipper

  4. What the German & Italian political & banking sectors understand, is that they need to keep the lid on tight or it will all blow up in their faces.
    Ice runs through the veins of these Mavericks.
    If push comes to shove there will be more drastic diversion’s, in the form of contrived terrorism & even civil war – WW3 is the last resort.

  5. To be sure, I think Oettinger is probably the least adequate senior official that Germany has ever sent to Brussels with a proven track record of putting his foot into his mouth. Having said that, seldom have I seen more fuss made about a perfectly reasonable statement – when read it the original German and in a proper translation – than in this case. To insinuate “teaching voters” is simply misleading. All Oettinger does is to explain the reality of the world and that reality is that markets and investors can be brutal to those who have made themselves dependent on them and who threaten to damage their interests, be that countries or companies. I have never heard the Scandinavians (or the Swiss) complain that markets and investors threaten their democracies.

    Contrast this with the following. Almost at the same time as Oettinger made his statement, George Soros announced a campaign to secure a second Brexit referendum within a year and save the UK from “immense damage”. Now that clearly falls into the category of a foreigner attempting to “teach” voters of another country what to vote for. I haven’t yet seen any violent reactions to Soros’ announcement.

  6. “I have never heard the Scandinavians (or the Swiss) complain that markets and investors threaten their democracies.”

    Perhaps because the markets and investors haven’t told them who is an acceptable choice for them to vote for…yet. Remains to be seen what they would say and do if (or when) they do.

  7. Unbridled neoliberalism and the tyranny of the markets has been a disaster that has generated injustice and inequality (not to mention the ecological disaster it has engendered) and deprived a growing number of people of their fundamental right to a decent life – all the while enriching a small elite who continues to lecture us about the benefits of financial flows and booming global trade.

    In order to cling to power, this discredited class has launched “project fear.” Any time, any party challenges their prerogatives, we immediately get swamped with articles and opinions about how “populists” are threatening the security of the economic system, and scare tactics are used to frighten and cow the electorate into voting against their own interests.

    But the reign of economics without the political oversight provided by a sovereign electorate is nothing more than the rule of the jungle where the strong get stronger and the weak keep getting weaker.

    What apologists for this system fail to realize is that for more and more people this state of affairs is simply no longer acceptable. Either the system will reform and democratize or it will disintegrate with unfathomable political consequences and the promise of social mayhem. Already we are seeing what happens when people are pushed to the extreme with the rise of extreme nationalistic and xenophobic parties all across Europe and the globe. It remains to be seen if the discredited elites will find the courage to allow the urgent and serious political and institutional changes that are needed or whether they will continue to think they can control and ride the tornado they have themselves unleashed.

    Alternatives exist. But ignorer for them to survive and thrive, they cannot be allowed to be buried under the relentless mantra of “the market says.”

  8. Dear Tintin, I think you are absolutely right, but let me add that the ruling elites will never surrender a part of their wealth (stolen from everybody else) voluntarily. Greed is what made them what they are and greed will make them defend their privileges at all costs, even via a holocaust.
    What is true for sure is that the tree of freedom and equal chances for all once more needs to be fed with blood; otherwise it will die.