Sunday 10 May 2009

European Union 2.0

Each issue of The Economist reminds the readers that the paper was first published in September 1843 to take part in ”a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.”

In the Charlemagne column An unloved parliament and in Charlemagne’s notebook The wrong way to make voters care about Europe, The Economist’s European affairs editor opts for the obstructionists.

What is going to happen if the once distinguished paper keeps on choosing the smaller Matryoshka doll, every time it broaches European subjects?


Europe Day

Kosmopolito doubted if the handing out of free umbrellas, pens and bottle openers was the right way to go to get closer to the citizen.

The European Citizen wondered why the Party of European Socialists (PES) was the only one to mention Europe Day on its website. In a comment to Europe Day 2009 stocktaking Eurocentric said:

“The EU needs a new story, really. It can no longer be about member states; it has to be about citizens, and it has to speak to citizens (or, preferably, encourage citizens to speak to it).

It may have been (and be) a project to save the nation state, but Europe needs to be a way of citizens ensuring effective government when the nation state simply isn't up to the task. Europe needs to be about citizen empowerment; about citizens being able to influence and set standards in society. The idea of Europe needs to speak to people in these terms.

Which is why it's disappointing that the EP parties haven't been as assertive or organised as they should be.”

Eurocentric is right.

The Schuman declaration saw the pooling of coal and steel production as the first step in the federation of Europe.

Franco-German reconciliation was a historical milestone and war between the members of the European Union is almost unthinkable.

But the old paradigms of technocracy and diplomacy have outlived their usefulness.

More Europe is needed in world affairs and to erase barriers within the European Union.

Legitimacy can only spring from EU citizens, not from member states or their leaders who have other things on their plate.

The time has come for the European Union 2.0 ─ the legitimate union where the citizens set the course for the government.

EU 2.0 = democracy and federation.

Ralf Grahn

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