Europe: A New Version is Available
We are outraged. We see Europe falling apart in front of our very eyes. The politicians of yesterday are sacrificing the principles of equality and dignity on the altar of cheap populism. Europe is in dire need of radical change in a broad range of areas including social, financial and energy policies. But because of a lack of courage, solutions are being left off the table, replaced instead with fear and mistrust. Previous generations inherited a Europe ravaged by war. They left us institutions meant to unite and safeguard the region. But how can they tell us Europe is about peace, when in Ukraine, a war is raging and thousands are dying in the Mediterranean; that Europe is about prosperity while millions are jobless; that Europe is about unity while Southern Europe is blamed for what is essentially a systemic problem. We want to take the European project to the next level: a new version is available.
Not in our name
Germany’s continued insistence on strict austerity as the only way to solve Europe’s problems is destroying the bonds that tie us together. It pits countries against one another, creating rivalry where solidarity is needed, and establishes a hierarchy among nations. The great European project, once a positive model for voluntary and meaningful cooperation, has devolved into a creditor-debtor relationship. We do not subscribe to such condescending and destructive policies.
When thousands across Europe protest against the institutions formerly known as the “Troika”, it is clear that something is fundamentally broken in Europe. The victories of populist parties across the continent, from France to the Netherlands and from Germany to Hungary, are further evidence of the damage being done.
Fear and alienation risks driving people further into the hands of Front National, Pegida and their like. But instead of recognising their responsibility for the European Project, politicians chase votes from the fringes of the political spectrum.
Who we are
We are your friends, your neighbours, your siblings, the passers-by on the street. We are the thousands who want to become millions of Europeans, convinced that to achieve success, risks must be taken.
Many of us have lived abroad, speak more than one language, have fallen in love with people from across country-lines and hardly remember what border controls feel like. Europe is our home. We might have taken it for granted up until now. But not any more. We understand that now is the time to rethink sovereignty and democracy beyond the nation-state.
In this globalised world, we are part of something bigger than our own, interconnected countries. Re-nationalisation contradicts this very fact. We are part of one Europe - without being forced to give up our regional or national identities.
What we want
Our plan for the future Europe is a republican one. To achieve political equality and social justice as well as fundamental human rights, essential changes towards a truly democratic European system are needed. Amongst those are:
- A single European democratic government with separated powers elected through transnational ballots.
- A transnational system guaranteeing social security -including unemployment insurance- whether we work in France or Poland today, in Spain tomorrow.
It is time to be courageous and to try something new to create a different Europe.
Jonathan Buhl, Daphne Büllesbach, Victoria Kupsch,
Nora Rahtje, Benjamin Zeeb