A European Elections Manifesto
To the citizens of the European Union:
In a few weeks we are called upon to elect a new European Parliament, the first under the rules set forth in the treaty of Lisbon.
Later this year our new Parliament will elect a new European Commission.
100 years after the beginning of World War I and 75 years after the beginning of World War II the subject speaks its own importance – comprehending in its consequences nothing less than further progress and development of our European Union or stagnation and mediocrity and – in the worst case – decomposition into its parts and perhaps finally a breakup.
How important it is to belong to a strong community can be witnessed in these days at our eastern border. The struggle of the Ukrainian people for inner peace and freedom, for the right of self-determination, democracy and prosperity reminds us of our own true values. They are precious and not to be taken for granted. Once more in history the Moscow Kremlin does not show any respect for these values.
If we ask ourselves where we should go and what we should strive for in future, it is good to realize who we are and where we come from. Let us remember.
Threescore and four years ago visionary Europeans brought forth the idea that all Europeans should live in peace, freedom and prosperity. Only five years after the end of World War II French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed to place the Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole under a common High Authority open to the participation of other European countries. Europe was not to be made at once, or according to a single plan. It was to be built through concrete achievements.
In 1989 the fall of the Berlin Wall opened up the possibility for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to join this Community sui generis. Their yes to the free, peaceful and prosperous Western Europe was like a new foundation, this time across Europe as a whole. The Community turned into the European Union. After overcoming war, fascism and communism Germany and Europe finally became reunited in peace and freedom.
In the last years, however, our inner cohesion has been tested. We are not engaged in civil wars anymore, nor are we divided by an iron curtain any longer. But a global financial and economic crisis, the worst since 1929, has challenged our solidarity and the commitment to our currency. At the same time we witness a tectonic shift of economic weight to Asia and revolutionary changes in the Arab world.
As Europeans it is more than ever in our common interest to join our forces and to build a more perfect European Union in order to ensure our prosperity in the future. United we are stronger.
For 2500 years Europeans have contributed to global development – as explorers, innovators, philosophers, scientists, artists, economists or politicians. From Greek democracy via Roman law, from European Renaissance to Enlightenment, from the great tradition of English Liberties and Parliamentarianism to the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, Europeans have influenced our modern political world.
Now it seems to have been reserved to the people of Europe, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether historically grown nations are really capable or not of establishing an ever deeper political union from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on their national prejudices and fears. The situation at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we, as Europeans, shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as a general misfortune of mankind.
The challenges ahead are many. Europe’s youth need new hope and employment. New ideas, innovation and growth need to be fostered across all member states. Our national budgets need to be stabilized further and deleveraging at all levels is in demand. We strongly need to enhance and coordinate better our economic policies. Our banking union must be implemented prudently, the capital requirements of our banks increased much further and the shadow banking system regulated much faster. A powerful digital agenda would facilitate our growth and strengthen our European networks. We need to ensure administrative excellence across all levels of our institutions and in some of our member states corruption needs to be fought forcefully with zero tolerance. A European energy transition is needed to fight climate change and to save future generations from deadly nuclear waste. More and more common standards will strengthen trade and investments in our transatlantic partnership. Peace, freedom and prosperity are to be fostered beyond our borders. Our immigration system needs reform. And we need to protect our fundamental rights and ourselves from an absurd surveillance from outside and inside our Union.
By implementing all this, the European Idea will shine in new splendour.
In implementing all this, our new European Parliament and our new European Commission will play a crucial role.
Ultimately, it comes down to the attitude and the decision of each and every single citizen. It is up to you as a citizen to vote for a new Parliament. What will you do? To vote is one of the fundamental rights of democracy. Do not neglect it. Do not throw it away, it matters.
Let us embrace and renew the European Idea, let us cherish the European Experiment.
Make your voice heard and set an example.
Let us vote for a new European Parliament and a better future of our European Union and its citizens.
Easter Sunday 2014, A citizen of the European Union
The founding fathers of Europe, the US and Abraham Lincoln are a true inspiration for anyone who is interested in the development and the preservation of a political Union. Using some of their words above should be taken as a personal homage. It also reflects that Europe and the US have influenced and inspired each other since the beginning and that this is going to continue.
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Please feel free to translate, if you think this article should be available in your European mother language. Just contact me via this blog and let me know.