Monday, November 22, 2010

Why it is important to keep voting in the European Parliament elections!

Democracy in the western world and Europe, is one of our fundamental assets, the spine cord of our civilization and the pride of our culture. Yet democracy, is a relevant idea if it lacks it’s main ingredient: the public. Any democratic system that it’s people are indifferent, ignorant or hostile to it’s institutions and functions, is in danger of becoming nothing more than a theater without the audience and the actors. An empty and meaningless institution.

Democracy can exist in a national, and an international level. As long as the people who are affected by the decisions of the Parliament, the heart of every democracy in the world are getting involved, vote, debate and being informed for the decisions taken by it, democracy exists and prevails. Either in one nation state, or in an international organization that is formed by many states like the EU, democracy can be present once it’s laws are being respected and implemented.

The duties of each one of us who is a citizen of a democratic country or a group of states, are most importantly to vote, care, be aware and participate in the functions and decision making of the democratic
system we belong. Our actions are necessary for the establishment of a functioning democracy.

Turn your back to it, or have no interest in participating and you do not just lose your voice, your influence and your chance to express your satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Technically you lose your right to democracy.

It works for you and with you, but without you, not only it loses it’s power, but you also lose every right to complain about everything you dislike in the country you live in. Or the group of countries who form the democratic institution your country belongs.

By voting in the European elections, you do not undermine your country’s sovereign status but you are increasing its influence and voice in the EU. Something that is so important for every country in
it, since by sending the most suitable MEPs to represent your country, you are securing the best interests of your nation and Europe’s in general.

Most "euro-skeptics" will argue that by giving power to the EP, you are giving away your country's sovereignty. But just think about this: are we really sovereign in a globalized world and how independent do you think you are at a national level? Do other regions of this world really have 100% say over their countries or their continent? But unlike the others, we have a chance to unite our voices, coordinate our actions and protect our collective interests better than them.

The role of EU is not to threaten the sovereignty of any member state as many believe. The argument of losing your national identity and becoming “European” if you vote for the European elections it simply
silly. The EU is not one nation or country, rather a union of states that want to work together, co-operate and share knowledge, resources, and policies towards a common good. “European” is something that we already are, since we inhabit this continent and participation in European affairs is something that we all should take seriously since whatever happens to Europe, affects us all directly.

To me the only way that Europe could become fairer and a better place to be, would be the formation of a partially federal government. To offer an alternative to our national often corrupt governments, paralyzed by the interests and monopolies of the ruling elites that were established after WW2. Lets give them competition and shake up the European established political elite.

Europe should be governed in three levels: The local, national and the European one. And for all matters European, we should give full power to the EP. We should not allow our national governments to mix or impose national politics onto European ones. Our countries and economies are already widely intertwined, so trying to solve European issues applying national solutions does not work anymore. Keep our national governments for all issues national.

Indifference, hostility, radicalism, nationalism, or simply lack of interest, can have disastrous consequences. Democracy does not work well with those elements. Any decision taken under such circumstances can be the wrong one and when it is an important one, the results can be negatively affecting the whole of  Europe for decades to come.

So the importance of a vote should be clear to everyone. It is not something imposed to us, it is our right and we should be proud and protective of it. We fought for it, we deserve it. Use it and use it wisely. In the next European Elections make sure you are present and give your message to your Government and all our European leaders.

What kind of Europe do you want? Vote to say that you care, that you are bothered. Vote to shape Europe, and influence it. No one will ignore you if the turn out is large. The more people turn out to vote, the more serious the elections are, the more seriously your politicians will take you.

If the turn out is small, do not be surprised if you are ignored again. Be responsible and use your rights. Vote! Let's make EU democratic and fully functioning.

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