Why a discussion on the Future of Europe

The European Union has been strong for the weak ones and weak with the strong ones. Over the last decade, inequalities have risen, social marginalization increased to unprecedented levels since the European project began, the social mobility is stuck and education becomes more expensive and less valued at the same time. Thus, the EU, “founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights” has been failing the goal of providing equal opportunities for all. In the name of the fiscal rules, the EU has looked away from the clear symptoms of social malaise, letting it transform into nationalism and resentment towards the European project.

By deciding to draw the attention to the fiscal rules more than to the people needs for a way too long time, the EU helped the financial institutions recover from the crisis better than the young people who, in times of crisis, try to emancipate themselves and build their future on a solid basis. Those who need to rely on the welfare system the most were the ones hit harder by the crisis, due to the decision to pursue the austerity dogma and therefore cut the public expenditure for healthcare and social services.

There are of course domestic reasons why more than half of the British citizens decided that leaving the EU would benefit them. But besides those, there are the above-mentioned choices, made over and over, that we believe have been encouraging Brexit.

As dramatic as it is, Brexit at least worked as a brutal warning for the EU. It has hardly been truer that the EU, and the project for peace and transnational cooperation that it represents, cannot be taken for granted. Therefore, the European Commission and the European Council launched the Future of Europe initiative to get a real discussion about how to deal with Brexit, how to prevent that no other country wishes to leave and how to reform the Union itself.

YES is joining this discussion through its dedicated network. Our goal is to collect contributions, generating a grass rooted discussion and facilitating a transnational dialogue, thus a common view, in the community of the young European socialists.

There is quite a big amount of questions that might be asked about the EU, but there is a fundamental one from which we believe that it is necessary to start the discussion with: why just a few-and- well-educated people know how the EU functions? Undeniably, closing the gap between citizens and the European institutions is a goal that must be on top of the agenda. Otherwise, how to expect citizens to understand why the EU is important and how it represents their interests if they can’t easily understand how it works?

Moreover, when trying to close the gap between the EU institutions and the population they work for, social policies must be the driver thriving to bring the EU policies on the ground and enlarge the well-being of people. In this regard, we can only be happy that the European Commission is eventually looking more thoroughly at the social dimension of Europe, for instance, but we are also concerned about the fact that it lacks an analysis of what really brings Europeans together and what drives the European identity among its citizens. And it might be too little too late.

That’s why YES is carrying out its discussion on the Future of Europe with an open method and approach, where each progressive activist can contribute and help shaping YES position on this fundamental matter.

The blog posts that we launch today are gonna kick-off the call for contributions while pinpointing our key priorities for the Future of Europe. We aim at going beyond a good will to “Reform Europe”, we want to discuss realistic actions and solutions and use the network and structures that YES managed to build in last 25 years in order to fight for them. Please feel free to join the discussion!

Write an e-mail to elisa.gambardella@youngsocialists.eu to get involved!

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