March 29, 2018
Guest post by Tomas Zdechovsky. Zdechovsky is EPP Vice-Coordinator in the Budget Control Committee.
“One of the reasons Communism was not successful economically was the planned economy. Bureaucrats in the capital decided at their desk how much wheat to grow in which season and with which fertiliser, to give just one example. They knew little about farming, but were loyal to the party and had a deep understanding of communist structures. The product of their work necessarily had to be below par. The promise of our free, democratic and capitalist societies is an easy vertical social vertical ascension for all its members, irrespective of their social background, sex, race, party affiliation or religion. Everyone is supposed to be solely judged by his or her objective qualifications and ability to work well and hard.
It is no secret that we only partially succeeded in this mission. White men are overall still ahead of everyone else. Children born into upper-class families have higher chances to succeed professionally than working-class children. The more we remove barriers of vertical ascension, the more innovative, cohesive and successful our societies become. The success of the microcosm Silicon Valley is just one of many examples for this.
The European Institutions are an interesting microcosm of their own:
On the one hand, they attract some of the most talented, bright and motivated and I am repeatedly positively astounded by the intelligence and wide horizon of many of the people I encounter in the European Parliament and other EU institutions on a daily basis. On the other hand, the bureaucracy and safety many of the employees enjoy creates boredom and suffocates initiative and entrepreneurship. Additionally, nepotism is widely spread. There has not been a single Parliament President, who has not tried to use his term in office, in order to see those loyal to him climb to high and strategically important places inside the European Parliament hierarchy. President Schulz has been an especially negative example of this concern. Often qualifications and experience solely come second or even third in the chronology of importance, when scanning candidates for new positions.
As vice-coordinator for the EPP Group in the Budget Control Committee, I listened long and hard to many arguments made for and against the fast ascension of Martin Selmayr to Secretary General of the European Commission and must say that I come to the conclusion that I oppose it by principle. I do not doubt Mr. Selmayr’s brilliance or ability to do a good job as Secretary General. I rather principally oppose the way he achieved that goal. The most often repeated argument has been ‘loyalty’ and loyalty cannot be the right reason to give anyone a leading position anywhere. We are sending a bad message and strengthen the bad impression many people already have of our honorable institutions.”