What Greek politician Margaritis ‘Gyro’ Schinas knows about the European Way of Life is that it's best lived in Brussels in the halls of impotence, under glass (with pheasant) dispensing poppycock and fantasies for the European Commission where, as spokesman, he perfected the three D's – Defend, Deflect, Deny.
He abetted neglect of refugees in his home country and waltzed around murders of journalists, tinpot dictators running amok in Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, the cover-up of corruption, selling of European Union passports to criminals by Cyprus, and living the good life a salary of 221,221 euros ($243,642), nice lunches and a swell office, not a refugee tent on Lesbos.
A career politician who's been there some 30 years, he rose to spinmeister for other career politicians who've never had dirty hands, unless you count the blood of people who've died because of their negligence.
Incoming European Commission President Ursula, to be questioned by Germany’s Parliament over allegations of misspending and mismanagement during her tenure at the Defense Ministry, put together a proposed Bizarro World Cabinet, the pick from France reviewed over for misspending of EU funds, the Belgian foreign minister slated to be EU Justice Commissioner probed for corruption.
Romania's choice was tied to a corruption scandal and Poland's is under investigation by the EU's Anti-fraud office OLAF while von der Leyen has given her pets cute titles such as Europe Fit for the Digital Age and An Economy that Works for People, (what, no animals?)
But the weirdest belongs to Schinas, the Commissioner for Protecting the European Way of Life, the slogan of near neo-Nazis and skinheads and the extreme right in Europe that wants to keep out migrants and refugees – posing a problem for him as overseeing internal security and migration is also part of his portfolio.
Thankfully, there won't be a swastika attached to the title and he was so thrilled by the appointment he gushed over it but didn't mention it was for, you know, the European Way of Life, which is something no one in the European Commission knows because they haven't been outside of their bubble world and fantasy life except for quick photo ops.
He was known in Brussels for his cool way of shaking off questions from reporters which bought him cred with the top dogs who don't like talking to journalists and could slide off sandpaper. You won't need any WD-40 if they shake your hand.
Under siege and under fire for what she meant, von der Leyen said the European Way of Life reflects the values enshrined in the EU treaty and warned "adversaries of Europe" were threatening these values of "tolerance" and "nondiscrimination."
"We cannot and must not let others take our language away from us: This is also part of who we are," she added, reported Deutsche Welle. European? Is that a language?
So now Schinas, from the new ruling New Democracy in Greece – a member of the European People's Party which believes in that way of life – is stuck with trying to defend this madcap moniker without laughing or drawing snickers.
He wouldn't get any at refugee and migrant detention centers and camps in Greece and on Greek islands, but if he bothers to go there (if so, cue the cameras) let him visit the Moria camp on Lesbos that the BBC called “the worst in the world,” where 10,000 people are crammed into a space built for 2500.
It will be somewhere he won't get his Florsheims dirty stepping in feces or the blood of anyone who's been knifed while he was in Brussels spouting drivel that the EU cared about letting these people experience the European Way of Life – which is excluding them and their like.
Schinas is "renowned for his generally good-natured sparring with reporters at the Commission's midday press conference, and occasionally a cause for groaning because of his ability to spin issues or decline to answer an unwanted question," Politico said, but he'd better get the top oiled for this one or he's going to look like the Tasmanian Devil going around.
Schinas tweeted: “Thrilled to be nominated as VP for Protecting our Way of Life covering #migration, #security, #employment, #education. Ready to get down to work & looking forward to discussing with @Europarl_EN about how we can translate our political priorities into real results for Europeans.” That excludes migrants and refugees and people who don't speak European.
Dutch Liberal member of the European Parliament Sophie in ‘t Veld, slammed what she dubbed a “fake portfolio,” saying: “The implication that Europeans need to be protected from external cultures is grotesque and this narrative should be rejected,” Reuters reported.
Schinas and other prospective commissioners must be ratified by the European Parliament whose President, Italy's David Sassoli said, "I assume that probably in the rush to give names to these portfolios there was a slightly casual approach and we ended up with these rather bizarre names.”
If Schinas is as decent as supporters said, let him denounce the title – political suicide – or speak to von der Leyen privately and tell her to rename it before he's laughed out of town trying to explain it. Without mentioning corruption, bribery, suppressing journalists, and letting migrants rot in Greek camps which is, of course, the real European Way of Life.