sâmbătă, 15 februarie 2014

Message to the European youth, on the eve of the European elections

Dear youngsters,

You probably know that there are European Parliament elections in May. However, you most likely think that this subject is not relevant to you. Even when there are elections in your own country, you might look at them with distrust – not to mention the European elections, far away from your everyday needs.

And speaking of Europe or the European Union what is to understand about it, you say? It's existing and developing now for over 50 years, during which there has been peace on the continent, as you learned from the history books. And nowadays Brussels bureaucrats impose rules and laws to member states for certain technical issues that really do not interest you.

But it’s not all irrelevant or negative; you might have heard that due to decisions from Brussels the international telephone prices decreased a lot, which is a great development. And you have heard of European scholarships, Erasmus.  Some of your friends have indeed gone to study in other European countries with this program supporting them. They have made
​​friends abroad, who can help them to find a job now, and it's good for them too. But it is something just for when you are a student, so you might not see what this can contribute on the long term.

You want to do something special in life, but achieving this can complicate everything. It is an era of globalization and there are consequences. It's technology that pushes us to be more pragmatic, perhaps too pragmatic, for example in relationships. And it seems that the EU should be able to solve anything. Unpaid traineeships provide you with some professional experience, as nobody wants to hire you when you finish your education: it's crisis. You might try to set up some business with friends, but it’s likely that no bank is willing to lend you money for a start-up. And finally, you might think about going to the United States, as you have heard that you can do a lot more stuff there. There are plenty ideas, but who listens to you?

You like Europe, you feel at home here, so this idea that was at the base of the European Union might not be so bad. And if I can be be a little philosophic, try to see why you do not really capture the European project. It's complex without head and tail, so surely something must change.

You feel frustrated and powerless, only a small part of the project who can change nothing. A structure in which you, as one of 500 million Europeans, feel hopelessly lost. You're not the only boy or girl in Europe who thinks the same!

Activists’ parties will rise to the forefront again, like always with elections coming up. Same faces, new names can appear as well if you're lucky. But very few actually have a new message. Promises, words, minor stuff that they do not believe. Politics, that's it!

But you do not see or hear anything concrete. There are no real answers to your questions, and you’ll wonder where this European giant is going. Nobody understands that by adding extra procedures, they forget the very purpose of the project itself! It seems that no one is talking to ordinary people, young and old, to hear what they actually need from Europe.

So, raise your voice: “Wake up, people! Please descend from the helicopter view before it's too late. You have a potentially fantastic project and yet you mock it”. Do you really think that they can do something concrete for you, as a youth, rather than leading you to a website with propaganda. Do you really think you can be helped to find a job?

Then tell them to stop blaming each other: "That’s not a competence of the Union”; “the Member States decide that”; “depends which party is in power in that country”; “we do not know what the country's priorities are, as they differ from country to country”.  You don’t want excuses; you want leaders, not politicians turned into propagandists.

Yes, I feel the fear of populists that come with anti-system messages, and who will possibly get a place in the European Parliament. "Who, ladies and gentlemen, gave them the opportunity to rise?” you ask.

You would think the Union is shaken to the ground, and yet they put their blinders on. They do not have the courage to really harness themselves to the new European project. True leaders do not see national and European public as two separate beings. They expose, and address the sensitive issues coming from the reality that we all live in.

And when they ask for your vote in May, then shout: "Make me feel that my vote counts! Now and in 5 years! Always..."

Dan LUCA / Brussels


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