Dear EP representatives,
2015 was a year dominated by crisis talks and it’s almost astonishing how easily we Europeans learned to cope with it! Since 2007, when the financial market crisis first hit Europe, I never got rid of the term ‚crisis‘ again, becoming a regular terminology in your and my vocabularies: government debt crisis, employment market crisis, demographic crisis, identity crisis, and most recently a Schengen-and migration crisis! However, I still have some confidence left.
But EU is much more than an agglomeration of crisis. It has become the world’s largest economic region; it established a new reserve currency. It is also a unit pressing ahead democratization in several countries; don’t forget Spain, Greece and post-Soviet countries. Most of them have become members shortly after having evanished totalitarian regimes.
If taking intoconsideration a view from outside Europe, the EU has become a union where diversity and diverse ideologies coexist. According to our ancestors vision the EU managed to find ways supporting self-criticism by providing funding also to opposing views and perspectives. Where else are anti-governmental protests beard with such abundancy of patience?
In fact for many years the EU demonstrated to be under continuous construction. Citizens claimed the EU was ruled by elites and the Lisbon Treaty was meant to sustainably increase participation. Unfortunately it didn’t work out well. A bicameral system with little decisional power for EU parliamentarians and a powerless regional council – this is not enough! There are more opportunities to render EU more participatory. I’m sure you are all knowledgeable about these options. Some of them have been recently explored by Benjamin Zeeb and Daniel Schade @PDUrope.
In the last decades your and my ancestors had a vision. Beginning with a multilateral agreement dedicated to the trade of coal and steel, the EU managed to get closer to its citizens every year. Conversely my ancestors got used to diversity, to mobility and to common goals and initiatives.
Today, in 2016 the hottest issue at stake concerns migration. Free mobility is at stake, nationalist and right-winged parties gain more and more power, and some people do no longer feel they can contribute or intervene at EU levels. It’s local, regional and national governments where people feel protected – it’s not your, mine and our ancestors vision anymore.
The European Union is more diverse by definition than all of European member states, sticking to cultural essentialist notions of citizenry. The European Union is legitimized by diversity underpinned by shared values of democracy, liberty and equality. Upcoming challenges shouldn’t be argument for drawing attention to lower level governments again. Make the EU easily accessible, more democratic and more grassroots based than ever before – let’s find solutions together if facing crisis after crisis!
Michael, EU Citizen