The state of the Union has never been so clouded. The European Union is arguing with itself. Between populism and rationalism a huge gap divides the European family. Despite this, the world keeps on moving. The challenges are increasing. The future is waiting. So how can we get the European Union fit for the future? Here my prescription for the EU.
Activating the Youth
The European Youth is not able to value the peacekeeping aspect of the European idea. It has never witnessed a war and hopefully won’t ever be involved in one. So which instruments can be used to encourage the young generation to deal with Europe?
- Distributing concrete offers. On the 18th birthday every European citizen will get a birthday letter from the European Union. A nice greeting is included, but much more important are the concrete offers that will be attached. Many do not know about the existence of programs like Erasmus+, the Solidarity Corps or other initiatives. By providing them these information we solve many problems at once. The institution is getting directly involved into the target group and that on a special emotional day! That increases the bar for appreciation. Also, the programs and initiatives will be used more frequently and hidden talents can be found. With a simple letter we can empower whole age groups directly.
- We want to upgrade ideas into solutions. Hackathons, regional networking platforms, call for papers must be involved in the direct approach of European problems. Giving the young leaders of the Union the chance not only to contribute, but to solve difficulties with visual results integrates them in the European evolution. Shortly: The future generation resolves future problems.
We are witnessing changes in every aspect of our every day life. The economy, technology, our consumer habits, our society and many domains are showing new forms of development. Just the way how we understand our democracy has not changed for quite a long time. Even within the EU institutions there are doubts in recognizing the Union with its departments as a role model for democratic values. This needs to change.
- The European Parliament is the only direct electable organ in the Union. It must gain the fundamental right to initiate legislation. The turnout is constantly sinking since the election in 1979 from 61,99% to now 42,61%. The Parliament could start with some limited form of legislative competance and slowly increase its options.
- We implement a new election system. We combine the majority vote system with the proportional representation. The trick is that we will create regional electoral districts that could cross-border, but mainly will stay within the national border. This way we built up pressure on MPs and the future candidates to promote their views to the local citizen. In this way European politics won´t be considers something that is done far away in Brussels. The proportional representation will be a transnational list of candidates. So the voters will be requested to inform themselves about the European parties and different candidates. This whole system stand on the fundaments of pressure on the one hand (Direct voted MPs towards Citizen) and the requirement of gaining information (Citizen towards European parties).
Focusing on Regionalisation
Overall the European Union will always depend on its members. Subsidiarity and Centralism must complement each other. Using the next generation as the new base of a future-friendly European Union is the key to success. Giving them the share they deserve will maintain a long term period of peace, prosperity and happiness among the regions. That will be the next part.
- The regions will play a major role in the future. Cooperation between cities and provinces will increase the exchange. Every local stakeholder should take the chances of these possibilities. Round Tables and new forms of representations are necessary to obtain valuable results. Acting as one region should gain advantages in funding accesses and project realisation.
- Next step will be to connect the regions with each other. So a transnational cooperation of local representatives can be established. Problems can be solved by the input of new perspectives. Also, local businesses can intercede with other local business. Deals, which never would have been considered, will increase regional growth.
The European Union has to heal its wounds. Like a patient it should not do it by itself, but take the advice of experts. The European Union is rich in talents. Only when the European Union sees its citizen as a resource of energy, innovation and knowledge, we can update the Union to something else than an international institution: A transnational society project.
Let´s all work on it!