This is a quick and more personal reflection given the current election results for the European Parliament. I will return with a more in-depth analysis of the Swedish EU election debate preceding the European elections in the coming week.
Let’s just say, we don’t need to be created – we are all Europeans! United in cultural diversity. We have a heart in need of a functional body to come alive. A democratic public sphere should be promoted and given resources by national member states of the European Union. The national level – including established parties – is responsible for the democratic deficit in the EU.
First when the national levels start taking serious responsibility for the development of the European project – the EU can be democratically communicated to its citizens and Europe can come alive beyond the boundaries of the nation states and right wing extreme populism! Its my sincere conviction. We don’t need less Europe – We need more Europe! We need a democratic Europe.
Voting turnout of 43 percent as in all Europe, or 51 percent as in Sweden is not democratic – but what can be expected with only one month – as in Sweden – to talk and discuss the future of Europe? A matter involving over 500 million citizens. To be compared with a year of national debates and media coverage in the run up towards the Swedish national elections that will be held in mid-september 2014 involving 9 million citizens.
My thoughts are with the UK and France, countries where I have studied, lived and worked. Where I became aware of my European heritage and identity. I remember when I was working for a year as au-pair, at eighteen, in Marseille in South of France and the National Front (FN) led by Jean-Marie Le Pen first emerged as a chilly whisper in society in 1989… And how they had established themselves, like the Swedish Democrats have in Sweden in recent years, when I returned to study in Paris as Erasmus student at L’Institut d’Etudes Politiques in 1997… UKIP was never even discussed at the politics department when I was a student at the Newcastle University 1995 – 1999. Though we of course knew about the nationalist party, they were just too marginalized. Much like the Swedish Democrats in the Swedish elections in 2002. I remember working for the Swedish Women’s Lobby advocating for gender equality during the annual summer week of politics in Almedalen preceding the national elections, and how the Swedish Democrats turned up in ironclad boots causing trouble and turmoil all around Visby, much like a chilly whisper from France… Now the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen is calling the French President to ask for re-elections at the national level. It’s more than a chilly whisper.
Today we see a completely new political landscape in Europe. There are echoes from history. We need Europe now more than ever before!
It’s not just an economic project it’s also a citizens project!
Follow the European election results here:
European Parliament (Europe)
Ekerö Kommun (Local Elections where I live.)