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Brexit and the City
19 May 2014

Jean-Dominique Giuliani: European elections - Not such a great campaign

The rise of extremes both on the left and right is the novelty in the present campaign in view of the upcoming European elections on 22-25 May. Using exaggerated, basic, and often outdated arguments the dissenters have found a federating scapegoat: the European Union.

At the same the real issues at heart are circumnavigated - admittedly these are complex - and yet they are decisive for the future of our States. Suddenly the eurosceptics - boosted by populist support are having a field day.

Once every five years we speak of Europe and it is used to blow off steam. It is true that discontent is rising in Europe. It is firstly addressed to national governments and even parliaments which have not shown much foresight nor success during the crisis. Of course expectations are high of active, effective and more political European institutions.

And a great deal of criticism might be quite rightly addressed against the latter from this point of view. But it is of these quite precisely that we are not speaking. Yes, the institutional practices of European actors must change. First they have to address the citizens before discussing matters between themselves. Are we sure, as we sit in our capitals, that we want to be governed from above, where some want to "change everything" because they have understood nothing or are pretending not to be responsible for the situation.

We are Europe, our States decided to work together in way that is unique and exceptional from an historical point of view. Now Europe must necessarily become a more political union, with people progressively drawing closer together, which when it is truly democratic will be a bonus to national democracies. We have not reached that point yet and for the time being we have to give credit where credit is due i.e. the crisis is the responsibility of our own governments. The diversity of economic situations in the Union shows that when necessary some have implemented vital changes courageously and with the greatest difficulty - and they are doing well, whilst others have hesitated, cheated, postponed necessary changes and are doing badly. And all of this with the same European policies.

The truth is that Europe has to be spoken of every - single - day. No national government measure should be presented to the citizens as it is to their parliament without explaining how it fits in to what is happening in Europe. Everyone has now understood that there are swathes of government action that can only be undertaken in cooperation with our closest neighbours, who are, quite precisely, our partners in the Union. People should now also know that this partnership will in no way threaten national identities and the specific features of each nation, which together, make an irreplaceable contribution to the world. Europe is a bonus for government action, not a constraint or a loss.

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© JD Giuliani

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