New Europe, new narrators

[Previously published in Spanish in Europa Press]

Europe needs engines. Reality changes faster than ever and this continent is full of young talent. We are millions of people willing to speed up a machine that already belongs to our reality. Therefore it is necessary to consider whether citizens, particularly young people, are successfully fulfilling our role. Despite successive reforms of the treaties, Member States have not managed to adopt a European Constitution yet. We have not even managed to communicate with a single European narrative. Narrators are needed for that. But European narrators. Faces that, because of their experience, are able and know how to explain what Europe is, how it works and why we cannot manage without the EU. Undoubtedly, these new narrators are young Europeans with critical sense, who think that all progress made during the European integration process in recent decades is not enough and call for a better Europe that can adapt to the new reality in which we are all immersed.

EU flag before the Berlaymont building / European Commission

EU flag before the Berlaymont building / European Commission

There are things that already belong to History, such as the Europe with borders, the Europe before the euro or the Europe without freedom of persons, goods, services and capitals. A whole generation does not consider anymore as unusual moving throughout Europe to study or to work, living together with citizens from all over the continent or acquiring a common identity which helps to create a European demos. Nowadays, young people start from a European basis; that is why we must be addressed with the voice that corresponds to us, a European voice, and all Europeans should receive a similar message. For this reason, the EU needs to communicate with a single narrative, not with twenty-eight.

One European Council, twenty-eight press conferences: one for each Member State. The conclusion is clear: the winners are the States; the looser, Europe. Therefore, more visibility and a more leading role of European authorities is needed so that we, Europeans, can receive the same message.

States have to adapt better to the greater presence of Europe at the national stage and to this reality where young people feel comfortable. We have exceeded the limits of the nation-State. So nobody can deny that mobility within the European space is a fact and a success. For all these reasons, today a better articulation of European politics in the national space is needed, with more debates and discussions about European affairs in the Member States. Holding “debates on the state of the European Union” in the national parliaments could be a way of bringing Europe also to national politics, and not only to inform about the European Councils, as they currently do, but also about the priorities of the European Commission and the measures adopted in the European Parliament, which affect to over 500 million citizens.

Eurosceptics promote “no Europe” through their own narrative. They really have a common European narrative, although they use it to try to destroy Europe. On the contrary, pro-European messages are divided, seen too technical and not so appealing for many citizens. Euro-enthusiastic young people, acting as European narrators, must be those who present to the rest of citizens and to the institutions that relying on Europe is not only convenient for everyone, but a better Europe is a necessity.

How to reach such a necessary single narrative? Europeanizing the election of our European representatives would help to create more united and European messages. Having a European constituency in the elections to the Parliament would be an important step in this direction. The European Parliament could also increase its legislative power so that it will be not so easy for the Council to stop a measure adopted by the Parliament in order that the European interests will be placed before the particular interest of the Member States.

Thanks to consensus many decisions have been adopted by the European partners. Just one State should not be able to veto a decision which affect to a big majority. For that reason, if we want to avoid that one single State, because of national reasons, can reject a decision, the unanimity vote should be eliminated. Unanimity is still used for topics such as foreign, security and defence policy; the accession of new States to the EU; the budget; social protection; or operational police cooperation.

It is not the moment now to suggest a new European Constitution. The scenario for that is not favourable when we see an important presence of eurosceptics, the difficult economic situation in Greece, or the “Brexit” debate. However, a reform of the treaties for a greater integration is possible, for instance in the Eurozone. Eurosceptics will never suggest any solutions facing the problems or needs of the EU. They just reject the current system without paying attention to the cost of “no Europe”. On the contrary, young Europeans have to be critical to improve what we have, to create new objectives for this European project, to continue making steps forward because we want more and better Europe. Young Europeans do not only want, but specially, we must participate more in the European public life, in the exchange of ideas and in the decision-making process. We would like to be listened more. We have a lot to say and to suggest. Let’s explain what is the Europe we want and how to reach it. Let’s be the narrators of the new Europe.

Author: Rubén Ruiz Calleja

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About Rubén Ruiz Calleja

Alumnus of the College of Europe (Natolin) - Marie Skłodowska- Curie Promotion 2011-2012.
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