After the Tour Tour Blog
Topic: Democracy
May 22, 2014, 8:04 a.m.

Why voting in the European elections 2014 this week is crucial

I do not like campaigning for voting, in fact before now I had never done it. I understand the criticisms towards European politics: the neoliberal agenda at the expense of social rights and justice, the democratic deficit in the decision-making process, the lack of a European public sphere and media.


But at the same time, this is the system we live in, the EU institutions are the ones we are governed by – depending on the issue area somewhere between 50 – 90% of all legislation decisive at the national level (and sub-national of course) is passed at EU-level. For that very reason I believe that although we can be as active or not as we like to make changes in moving towards more democratic, grassroots structures, we are under the impact of European politics in very significant ways.


And right now we can take part in the decision about which direction these politics and policies should take.


On their trip through 18 EU countries the Transeuropa Caravans visited a variety of citizens initiatives, social movements, community centres, non-profit organisations and local governments. They all have a story to tell, and they share similar struggles that they wish to be heard at the EU-level – whether that is because they want more influence or less, or maybe they want a different kind of governance. But they are all active citizens – residents of Europe – who take an interest and who want to, and often need to, shape their own lives and communities. I think it matters that we understand there is another Europe, the beating heart underneath the surface of Europe. Let’s not crash it, let’s keep it going and nurture what we have, fight for what can be achieved.


I do not believe we can have a grand impact as an individual in this election. But let’s look at it from the other side: We live in times of a financial and economic crisis, the gap between the richest and the poorest is at record levels, there is a lack of jobs, and there is rising poverty in the EU. And perhaps not all that surprisingly, we are confronted with a rising right wing ideology in several EU countries. The politics we face then are shaped along the lines of Geert Vilders from Holland who is asking for less ‘criminal Moroccans’ in his country. This is resorting to a politics of fear and exclusion. We live in a Europe, in a world, faced by climate change, and energy crisis, and new challenges rising concerning a dialogue with the east. If the right wing of Holland, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Sweden and Belgium get organised well, which is not unlikely, and the voting turn out in the elections is low, then the right wing ideology could gain up to 18%. The trouble is not just the percentage, but also the impact this has on the whole political life, and how parties react, for example by aligning their agenda closer to the right.


This scares me. And this is why I would like to, against my own rules not to campaign, say that if you are eligible, please do go vote, and if you cannot find any agreement with any party, then at least vote blank. For the sake of social justice, peace and solidarity with those that really need your voice.




Jan. 2, 2015, 12:25 p.m.

«Я понимаю, вы сейчас гадаете, почему…» Быть как все;

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