Open Letter to the EU: Reinstate the Commissioner for Science and Research

It may have escaped your attention (as it did mine) that, when the candidates for members of the European Union Commission were presented last week, the role of Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation has apparently been phased out, and its remit subsumed by that of the Commissioner for “Innovation and Youth”.

Downgrading the role of Science and Research in this way is a retrograde step, as is the introduction of a Commissioner for `Protecting the European Way of Life’, which is a racist dog-whistle if ever I heard one.

Anyway, back on the subject of Research and Science, there is a letter going around protesting the loss of a specific role in the Commission covering this portfolio.

Here is the text:

Your Excellencies Presidents Sassoli, Dr. Juncker and Dr. von der Leyen,

The candidates for the new EU commissioners were presented last week. In the new commission the areas of education and research are not explicitly represented anymore and instead are subsumed under the “innovation and youth” title. This emphasizes economic exploitability (i.e. “innovation”) over its foundation, which is education and research, and it reduces “education” to “youth” while being essential to all ages.

We, as members of the scientific community of Europe, wish to address this situation early on and emphasize both to the general public, as well as to relevant politicians on the national and European Union level, that without dedication to education and research there will neither exist a sound basis for innovation in Europe, nor can we fulfill the promise of a high standard of living for the citizens of Europe in a fierce global competition.

President von der Leyen, in her mission letter to commissioner Gabriel, has emphasized that “education, research and innovation will be key to our competitiveness”.

With this open letter we demand that the EU commission revises the title for commissioner Gabriel to “Education, Research, Innovation and Youth” reflecting Europe’s dedication to all of these crucial areas. We also call upon the European Parliament to request this change in name before confirming the nominees for commissioner.

I have signed the letter, and encourage you to do likewise if you are so inclined. You can find a link to the letter, together with instructions how to sign it, here.

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8 Responses to “Open Letter to the EU: Reinstate the Commissioner for Science and Research”

  1. “`Protecting the European Way of Life’, which is a racist dog-whistle if ever I heard one.”

    What, specifically, is racist about it? I am aware of the debate about the title, and the claims that it is a sop to right-wing populists.

    Define “European Way of Life” as the reason that many more people want to come to Europe from certain countries rather than vice versa; I’m sure that such (would-be) immigrants would be among the biggest supporters of such protection.

    Define “European Way of Life” as a way of life in which it is not a crime to be gay (as it is, for example, in Palestine). I think that there are many things worth protecting.

    What the agenda behind this title is, is another question, but per se I don’t see anything which would indicate it is racist, and von der Leyen is not in the right wing of her party.

    These days, one can be called a racist and/or Nazi, and many have been, simply for the factual claim that completely open borders would create more problems than it solves.

    More and more I see leftists caricaturing their own positions, presumably not noticing that such exaggeration undermines their own goals.

  2. […] via Open Letter to the EU: Reinstate the Commissioner for Science and Research — In the Dark […]

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