Thursday, May 9, 2013

European Union of the people, or the elites?
It is Europe's Day today and events are happening all over Europe to remind us of our achievements as a continent, but also debate on the new direction that our continent must follow.

But most people find it hard to be convinced or bothered, after all the negative press that all European institutions had to face during the economic crisis.

Many are indifferent and others angry, so they see no point for any celebrations. How can one celebrate "European unity," since the crisis exposed some weak points in the EU structures and helped nationalism, protectionism and conservatism to surface.

It created a new division between the rich North and the poor South and it exposed all cracks, but also creating further frictions among the states, but also between the governments and their citizens. 

The truth is that when we are talking about celebrating Europe's Day, we do not celebrate the EU as an institution. There is a huge difference between the institution and the European Union as an idea or a vision, that Monnet and Schuman and other founding fathers had envisioned.

And it is also true that celebrating Europe as a continent has nothing to do with the EU. Europe's Day is not for congratulating the EU or showing our support to it. It is to show that we still believe in the ideals and visions of the Treaty of Rome, believe that we can have a united continent that will not be destroyed by war ever again.

Its nations will work and cooperate together and we can celebrate our European identity, together with our national one. It is also a day to debate and reflect on where we are going wrong and what we must correct. To discuss how happy we are or not, or how the EU is affecting our lives and the way it works. 

It is no lie that there are plenty of shortfalls in the EU and Europe as it is structured today. There is plenty of corruption, injustice, elitism, secrecy, lack of transparency. So celebrate Europe and the European Union as an idea, but not the corrupt institution that we have right now.

On this Europe's Day I am not cheering for the EU, but Europe and its citizens. The EU is being governed by a "lobbocracy." Still, European citizens must get involved,be vigilant. Demand transparency accountability and democracy. Not EU cheering or bashing, we need a constructive debate on where we are going with this project and how can we make it work.

We know that Europe, just like the US is being governed by an unaccountable plutocracy, elitism and "intergovernmental-ism". But avoiding active participation does not help; it is not constructive. If we want to have the European Union that we deserve, there is no way but to get active. Form our own lobbies to push for our rights and interests. 

On this Europe's day I urge you to watch a documentary linked bellow. It is called "the Brussels Business" and it is about how the EU works behind closed doors. The lobbies that affect its policies, that affect our lives. Will you still be passive and indifferent? 

If Europe wants change, it needs to work for it. And Europe's Day is just the day to remind us this fact, not to praise the EU Eurocrats for their work.

 The Brussels Business