Koen van Groesen

Tajani’s vision for Europe is a conservative one, more looking backward than forward. It felt a bit like being European means being a white Christian.

Von Koen van Groesen

A Polish-German choir opens the Europe speech in the Allianz Forum in Berlin. They sing in Polish, German, English and Italian. If you look outside you see the Brandenburger Tor, the symbol of Europe’s History. Inside, the sweet voices of the choir in their different languages connect the people. The atmosphere is perfect for an inspiring speech about the future of Europe and its citizens. Impossible to miss, right? Or maybe not.

In his half-hour monologue, Antonio Tajani, the President of the European Parliament, doesn’t use the inspiring atmosphere. His vision for Europe is a conservative one, more looking backward than forward. How can we stop migration and stop Africans from coming in by the thousands – it felt a bit like being European means being white and Christian, excluding people rather than including people. The choir ends the night with the European anthem and its “Alle Menschen werden Brüder”. I got a feeling the song is not on Tajani’s Spotify list …

Koen van Groesen ist Journalist in den Niederlanden.
Foto: Jule Halsinger