“The greatest civilizational achievement”
Many people are clearly expressing their belief in the EU prior to the European elections. They know the benefits of Europe, and how they envisage Europe. Three voices.
“The EU is a civilizational achievement unprecedented in the history of humankind. The challenge, to successfully press ahead for this unique idea and continually improve it, has motivated me to go into politics, based on my existing involvement in civil society for Europe. Over the past two years I have been listening especially to people on the street. The wealth of different ideas, concerns and criticism have helped to form the mission that I would like to take with me into the European Parliament: more rights for EU citizens, more transparency, more information, more participation – and consequently more commitment for the European Union.
The steps we need to take for a united body of citizens are not really that difficult. But they are very important in order to make it easier for the people in Europe to gain a sense of their European identity and increase their awareness of the EU. They need to be included in the development of a European Constitution through citizens’ committees, and the European Parliament needs to become the unrestricted representation of the sovereign citizens of the union. A European passport and a reform proposed by the European Citizens’ Initiative would mark the first steps in this direction.
The global challenges can only be solved by a confident, environmentally-friendly Europe that has the ability to make decisions and act on them. This calls for a joint foreign policy no longer dependent on a unanimous vote, a European security doctrine with a European army for peacekeeping, the clearly defined protection of the external borders through a European migration policy, and above all a lot more courage for a united Europe!
Nini Tsiklauri comes from Georgia, is a German citizen and lives in Vienna. The author and EU activist is standing for the European Parliament in 2019.
The EU is the most progressive political project that humankind has so far conceived.
“Europe means opportunity and necessity”
“The EU is the most politically advanced project that humankind has ever come up with to date. It is not only a successful effort to end war between countries previously consumed by enmity, but also perhaps the world's first attempt to create a common political identity without mobilizing an educational or military machinery for the purpose.
To me, Europe means opportunity and necessity at once. A united Europe provides its citizens with more opportunities than any single member state can, from studying and working abroad to buying products cheaper from all over Europe. But it is also a necessity: Brexit has showed us all what life without Europe would look like, and it’s not a bright prospect. Now that we know the alternative, it’s increasingly obvious that we must stick together: if we choose to embrace a European identity, we can do it with a smile on our faces, too.
I do believe that, against this backdrop, Europeans will sooner or later find the courage to develop a more democratic EU, one where it’s first and foremost the citizens who decide. An EU strong enough to provide a minimum of social security to its citizens, and to protect Europeans from military attack.”
Juuso Järviniemi comes from Finland, is studying in Scotland and is currently taking part in the Erasmus Programme in Paris. He is an active member of the Young European Federalists (JEF) and editor-in-chief of The New Federalist.
“I believe in a Europe of the people”
“The European Union is where I live, it’s my country. I went to school in Antwerp, my German penfriend lived in Viersen, and I finished my studies in Rome. Borussia Mönchengladbach and Juventus Turin are my favourite football teams, after Olympique Lyonnais. I lived in Brussels, worked in Milan and dreamt in Berlin. But Europe, to me it’s not just the big cities but also Chambéry, Savoyen, where I live at the moment, Viterbo in the Latinum region of Italy, Ruhpolding in the Chiemgau area, Seraing near Liège and Clifden in Ireland.
Since the closing of the borders ordered by François Hollande in response to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, the Brexit referendum and the takeover of power by the populists in Italy, Hungary and Poland, I have been promoting the Renaissance of Europe. We need to start new integration projects: social rights, defence, taxes. Then, one day, we will arrive in the European Republic described by Ulrike Guérot.
I believe in a Europe of the people that is borne along by the people, like in the past at Maidan in the Ukrainian capital Kiev and, paradoxically now in the United Kingdom, or at the rallies of Pulse of Europe. The flag of the European Union that people happily wave in the streets is a powerful symbol. It represents one of the opportunities to overcome this moment of hesitation that Europe is experiencing between its past and its future.”
Marc Lavedrine is French, but he grew up in different European countries. The teacher and consultant heads the Pulse of Europe initiative in Chambéry.
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