Can Europe Make It?

A reformed Europe is the way forward

Karl Littlejohn
6 June 2014

We have all followed the MEP election campaign in our countries, and also in other European countries. Now the results are out, political scientists have been quick to analyse the shift our continent is making. To some, it is a result that could spell disaster, while for others it could mean hope and indicates that Europeans are voicing their concerns.

Personally, I am not too surprised with the results. Official polls before the election were showing that the National Front in France and UKIP in Britain would come first in their respective countries. The same polls indicated the same fate for Syriza in Greece.

Honestly, I am not the type to fall in the emotional trap and be worried and whine that Europe is turning into a ‘Neo-Nazi’ continent just because we saw some right wing parties being elected by a big margin. Neither do I think that Europe is going to resort to ‘Communism’ just because we experienced Left wing parties like Syriza taking the lead in polls, or the positive result for Podemos in Spain. The aforementioned extreme ideologies are too far gone, and I guess we should adapt to our times and face reality. People voting for these parties do not indicate that they want to take a journey back to the past. Neither do these voters represent the extremism that they are usually accused of. The message was to the political establishment.

Our continent is facing hard times with issues that affect the daily lives of our citizens. Unfortunately these issues are either being neglected or ignored by our political class.

There is no beating around the bush: immigration, the economy, and employment are major concerns for most European citizens and these concerns influence the MEPs elected. However, despite the fact that these results saw radical parties of both political spectrums being elected, or increasing their votes, I believe that it is an opportunity for us Europeans to think thoroughly about the future of our continent, and our children.

It is high time for our leaders, and the EU commission, to reflect on their sins of the past. They should start realizing that now they are reaping what they had sowed. Our politicians should cultivate self-criticism.

Let’s admit that the European Union, if anything, managed to build cooperation between its various member states without the need of going to war. It brought peace and stability over the years. However, in the last decades, the rush for further integration, without slowly assimilating new member states precipitated the start of the Union’s downfall, and lost touch with people’s reality. European citizens feel highly detached from the European centralized institutions, either by the lack of concrete action on immigration and employment, or becasue of the tough austerity measures applied to some nations. People also feel harassed with the political correctness in every corner of their lives.

We are still in time to revise, change and reform a United Europe. This however takes a collective effort in order to be done, and we should find what unites us, rather than what divides us. Last weekend’s result need not be repeated in elections to come, but only if we make this a team effort to take action on the concerns of European citizens. Obduracy and arrogance are not the routes our leaders should continue taking. Disaster is possible but only if this Euro election result goes disregarded, and instead, we continue steering our sinking ship.

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