European elections 2019: let’s mobilise for Europe we want

In less than a year’s time we will elect a new European Parliament. And what a time for Europe it is! The entire European project and the values the Union is based upon are being challenged from all possible directions, both outside and inside. Its a fragile time for Europe and nobody really know what it is going to happen.

Citizen’s attitudes and relationship with Europe are also contradictory. This May’s Eurobarometer data show the highest support for the EU since 1983: 60% European consider EU membership a good thing and 2/3 said their countries benefited from EU membership.

At the same time citizenship engagement with the EU politics and particularly their participation in the European Parliament elections keeps decreasing at a dangerous speed. Another contradiction is that while supporting the EU project in general, EU citizens are increasingly voting for the populists and far right parties who aim to weaken, if not completely destroy the EU.

What does this situation mean for us and what can we do about it?

Social Platform members working at EU level clearly know the value of the EU in advancing and improving laws, policies and practices making life better for millions of people across the Union.

Firstly, we need to contribute to the debate about Europe. In the times of fake news, populism, and apathy, we need to bring back vision, values and facts. Secondly, we need to mobilise people to get out and vote.

EU is not perfect, we all know that. It surely needs reforms and improvements. But EU had already and still has a great potential for advancing the standards, rights and protections we work collectively for.

Currently the debates around EU are too often noisy bragging, complaining about and bashing the Union. In such circumstances it is very easy to forget, overlook or take for granted the benefits and advances achieved and made because of the EU. We do not need to defend EU for the sake of defending it. What we need is to actively participate in those noisy debates focusing on the vision for Europe we share and how to make the EU even greater tool for achieving that vison.

While the EU is being bashed and criticised, deep down the vision of social Europe which cares about well-being of people is shared by the citizens. The results of already mentioned Eurobarometer survey shows that 35% EU citizens want the election campaign to focus on such topics as human rights, democracy and the social protection of EU citizens.

Achieving the vision of Europe we want is simply impossible without engaging and motivating citizens on a local and national level. To achieve that we must work with and appeal to that majority who express wide support for the EU project but do not bother voting at the European elections or vote for parties who has vision of a very different Europe. Its our task to make that links and explain what a huge potential EU has to make our vision a reality.