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EU accused of 'divisive rhetoric' after appointing Vice President for 'Protecting Our Way of Life'

This title is a rebranding of the Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship portfolio.

THE INCOMING EU Commission unveiled today has already caused some controversy, with the changed title of one of the portfolios described as ‘grotesque’ and ‘insulting’.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen today presented the new structure of the next European Commission, including the appointment of eight vice presidents.

One of those vice presidents, Margaritis Schinas, a Greek former MEP and long-serving commission official, has been appointed to oversee a portfolio called ‘Protecting our European Way of Life’.

It was later clarified that this title is a rebranding of the Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship portfolio.

“From better protecting our citizens and borders and modernising our asylum system, to investing in Europeans’ skills and creating brighter futures for our youth, I am confident that we can take great strides over the next five years to both protect and empower Europeans,” Schina said after the announcement.

The rebrand has been criticised with some commentators questioning whether the commission is suggesting that migrants do not fit in with the EU’s ‘way of life’. 

Molly Scott Cato, a British Green MEP told The Independent that the title “looks like the portfolio to fight back against the rise of the fascists, but only by adopting their divisive rhetoric around ‘strong borders’”.

Dutch liberal MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld said the “implication that Europeans need to be protected from external cultures is grotesque and this narrative should be rejected”.

Labour MEP Claude Moraes also described the new title of the migration portfolio as “deeply insulting”. 

“A portfolio with a title like this just cannot stand in my view,” he said on Twitter.

Speaking about her new team today, President-elect Ursula von der Leyen said they will “shape the European way”.

“This team will have to stand up for our values and world-class standards. I want a Commission that is led with determination, that is clearly focused on the issues at hand and that provides answers. I want it to be a well-balanced, agile and modern commission.”

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