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The 2014 European elections: true hope for democracy or fear in the face of nationalists?

First part: The citizens – trapped between more democracy and the nationalistic threat.

, by Michel Morin, Translated by Nelly Tsekova

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

The European Parliament elections in 2014 will allow for a democratic breakthrough if all possibilities offered by the Lisbon Treaty are applied. The President of the European Commission would then be chosen from a democratically elected political majority. But the initial enthusiasm is gradually vanishing and less than ideal prospects seem to be emerging.

authors

  • Nelly Tsekova is a student of Public Policy at the University of Sofia, Bulgaria. She is member of JEF-Bulgaria and has done internships at the World Bank and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria. Her interests include any EU-related topic especially foreign policy and education.

  • Citoyen militant européen

At the same time, political expressions across Europe show progress in the views of the most radical neonationalists towards racist and xenophobic overtones. They settle as alternative forces to the discredited democratic game, against national and European political classes. They are against the established order in and by Europe and therefore adopt a revolutionary position.

The European Parliament – a strong and fragile mechanics

Until now, the European Parliament can play its role in the system of co-decision of the European Union at various levels, by creating a majority of opinions, by choosing issues on which he leads battles to advance the general European interest, such as the recent financial framework 2014-2020. When MEPs come to meet citizens, they testify to that. They show that this functioning is possible because of a work exchange between representatives of all groups, compliance with common rules and procedures related to multiculturalism, help to create consensus and majority of projects. Acceptance of the common system is the basis of this mechanism. Rare spectacular media conflicts that took place within the confines of the European Parliament have always remained limited, compared to what can happen in the national parliaments. In addition, many opponents of the EU assiduously practice absenteeism.

On the contrary, the hitch related to the behavior of Hungarian movement Jobbik shows the risk of abuses in the future. In 2009, three members came dressed in banned military uniforms in the EP. The behavior of the English nationalist Nigel Farage is of the same nature. Rebuked and condemned, he continues his verbal projections. They are few... for now. But MEPs who attended these events underlined their extremely harmful capacity.

What will the radical nationalists do, if they find themselves massively present in Europe?

Revolutionary strategies or normalisation?

The current negotiations between nationalist forces to create a common group in the Parliament have the political goal of strengthening all Eurosceptics and europhobes. But they also aim to obtain significant financial and human resources to enable them to sustainably lead their battles.

These unions of tactic forces, that by nature don’t get on well, will they be content to build on their achievements? Will they return to the ranks? Will they be content to be cuckoos in a democratic surrounding while creating simple squabbles to consolidate their supporters? Or the general mechanics, the precise mechanics of the decision making system, will they appear to them more fragile than we think? And will then the political offensive to block the European machine become their priority?

Their number will weigh in battles to come. A couple of mini- groups cannot permanently break a parliamentary tool. However, when a certain critical mass is reached, anything is possible for those who want to destroy.

Their goal is to destroy the Europe of today. Having conquered enough of the general opinion on this base, their credibility will dependent on heir ability to actually change things. With the Lisbon Treaty, to block the decisions in the European Parliament is to block the whole European machine and the ability to be present oneself in a favorable light in turning to the opinion in every crisis. All excessive behaviors appear as a true revolutionary attitude against the despised Europe.

The worst is never certain...

The battle for the European elections is crucial. Every moment of the democratic life is, but 2014 will be marked by the “new realities” of good and bad.

European citizens still hold their destiny in their hands to prevent that bad news break out from neo- nationalist horizons.

All professionals and education activists, whether institutional, permanent or popular must increase civic education approaches to push back the demagogic waves against the values of living together, against racism and xenophobia and to promote debate, dialogue and tolerance.

All Democrats must denounce the dangers that these forces pose to the peaceful and democratic future of Europe. A true democratic front must be expressed or organized to carry this message. It can probably start to develop around the European Movement.

At the same time we must offer clear opportunities for citizens to choose between a liberal and a conservative Europe. To choose between a Europe of the left or right, depending on the question debated by activists in the Houses of Europe in Strasbourg in late November. Whether to have an intergovernmental Europe or a federal Europe is an ongoing debate, but it must be highly related to the previous choices. Otherwise, the debate limited only to the nature of Europe will lead, in the best case, only to abstention.

The current dominance of conservative influence on Europe therefore requires the strengthening of an independent political expression to fight for a progressive Europe. It is now vital for the survival of the European ideal.

See online : Crédit photographique: service audiovisuel du Parlement européen

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