What are the upcoming European elections about? A host of issues, different from country to country, but seldom bearing on the work of the European Parliament.
How can the few citizens of the European Union who bother to cast their ballots ever be supposed to understand the implications of their vote, if the political parties at European level (Europarties) have refused to nominate candidates for the Commission Presidency and the visible national parties compete on domestic platforms and grievances?
Perhaps a certain degree of European consciousness evolves slowly, so let us leave the new(ish) member states. Instead, let us find our model in one of the founding members, France, the home of the Schuman declaration.
Here is a snapshot presented by two French quality Euroblogs.
L’Européen jamais content
Cédric Puisney, also known as L’Européen jamais content, comments on an electoral campaign singularly out of breath in his blog post Européennes 2009 : UMPathétique (17 April 2009).
Puisney refers to the “stupid” call by the spokesperson for the Socialist Party (PS) Benôit Hamon for a vote of “sanction” against President Nicolas Sarkozy at the European elections.
After that Puisney turns to the campaign of the governing UMP party (EPP). He finds no political programme, but a visible appeal for donations. The real stars of the UMP campaign are not its top candidates, but Nicolas Sarkozy (the President of the French Republic), showing his voluntarist grin on the election poster.
Stupid or not, the campaign seems to be a contest for or against the sitting President of the Republic. Is representation for French citizens in the European Parliament really a question of a fifth column for the Elysée Palace or a counter-force to that?
With the possible exception of Sarkozy, most enlightened Europeans know that his term as acting President of the European Council ended nearly four months ago.
What if the European elections in France have really sunken to the level of a Franco-French dogfight?
Jules at Diner’s Room has written an ironic piece on the latest examples of Sarkozy’s famed modesty and diplomatic language to have gained international recognition: Classe mondiale (17 April 2009).
The comments are worth reading, too.
Together these blog posts give new life and meaning to the UMP slogan Quand l’Europe veut, l’Europe peut.
Need I exhort campaigners in newer member states to emulate the shining example given by the founding member and engine of European integration?