Today is Europe’s Day, it should be more than just flag-waving or expressing regrets and critics. This year the focus has to be on the defense of the idea and project that was based on overcoming national borders built lessons we (should have) learnt from the past. Relaunching Europe shall be more than a new narrative. People are experiencing Europe in many ways and aspects of their daily life: school and students exchanges, town twinning, tourism, forced or chosen labor mobility and many other ways.
Institutional Europe is still attractive and raising the curiosity of citizens as proved by the Open Days in Brussels last Saturday. We cannot ignore, however, that too many people experience another Europe: the one of Stability and Growth pact, the one of the reducing public and social investment instead of promoting the public and common good, the one protecting financial markets for the sake of a black zero and balance figures. They are experiencing the absence of Europe in the stand for the defense of civic space, labor and democratic rights, fading of Europe as a global actor for the sake of bad “deals”. Too often citizens’ feeling are that they are left behind the economic and financial reasoning. The attempts of this Commission and the other European Institutions are undeniable, however, the reluctance and resistances against a progressive change are increasing.
The 9th of May 2018 shall be the day of campaigning and committing not only for “the Europe we want”, but rather “the Europe we strive for” we promoted around the Civils Society Days of the EESC. The focus must be on standing strongly against the poison of nationalism, not only the one of the right-wing populism. Beyond that: the need to defend the idea that the Nation state is no more the best alternative to defend our rights, to develop welfare state and prosperity for all. The Nation state is historically overcome – yes! Dare to speak it out! In times of globalization and digitalization any kind of reduction on national solutions, even progressive ones, will increase competition between member states and will – in the end - nourish the worst forms of nationalism which is represents everything but protection and resilience.
9th of May – dare more Europe in a different Europe: the one that demonstrates the benefits for all are possible through a fair distribution of wealth, the one that offers positive prospective for new generations, the one that guarantees real territorial and social cohesion! This Europe needs ambitions and means. A European movement is more than one organization, a glorified past or a label, it its citizens “Pulse of Europe” we share and promote as civil society organisations, every day! Together for Social Europe! #Euroopetogether
Statement by Conny Reuter, SOLIDAR Secretary General