“Currently, the EU suffers, firstly, from a functioning deficit – it is being run with opacity and bureaucracy. Secondly, it does not have a New Agenda, a new forward-looking plan for the present and future of its peoples. An attractive plan for peace, democracy, social solidarity, work and security,” highlighted, inter alia, the Regional Governor of Attica, Rena Dourou, in her article titled “The stakes for Europe”, dated Monday 17 September, in the “Efimerida ton Syntakton” newspaper.
Rena Dourou refers to the “dangerous paradox” that “nowadays we are experiencing in Europe”: “On the one hand, we need more than ever the joint venture that was envisioned, after the material and intellectual destruction of World War II, by the Founding Fathers. Peace, democracy, solidarity, social cohesion, prosperity.” “However, at the same time, we realise that in many EU countries, xenophobia, racism, social exclusion, and the ideas of the extreme right not only remain, but they have become a pole of political and social attraction in countries that either started the European project or joined in later on to participate in the common effort. These phenomena tend, in actual fact, to undermine the previous course of the European project. They direct Europe towards a general instability, towards the trail of barriers and barbed wire. The path of nationalism and the rejection of the Other. A pitifully familiar Europe: a Europe of racial purity and the law of power and intransigence.”
The key points of the Regional Governor's article are as follows:
- Incorrect answers do not just make EU’s present more difficult, they make EU’s tomorrow impossible. The fact that today, for example, many countries choose national retrenchment with regard to immigration (and not only that), gives credit to Jacques Delors and the view that, in the early 1990s, the enlargement of the EU should have been preceded by the deepening of the European institutions.
Today the EU pays the high price for choosing the intergovernmental method over the expansion of federation
- Today the EU pays the high price of that wrong decision. It pays for choosing the intergovernmental method over the expansion of federation. It pays for the fact that it has failed to capitalize on its crisis in order to overcome it and move on. Normally, therefore, the refugee/migration phenomenon acts now as a “thermometer” that reveals how crucial the situation is.
- Today, the continent of the French Revolution, human rights and the welfare state does not seem to have the courage to defend precisely those values that have made it unique. The values that the uprooted people of Africa and the Middle East, who have fled from civil war-stricken countries such as Syria, Yemen or Afghanistan, are seeking to find today in European territory.
- (…) We are thus lagging behind the constitutionalisation of the European project, as observed by a great thinker, Jürgen Habermas six years ago, in his essay “Why Europe needs a Constitution”. It is no coincidence that this functioning deficit of the EU, in several regards, has disoriented Europe, leading it away from all the critical stakes in terms of tackling poverty, social exclusion, and unemployment, as well as in terms of developing and implementing the necessary policies for the reception and integration of refugees and migrants.
The decreasing participation of citizens in European Parliament elections illustrates the current impasse
- Alarm has long been raised and the decreasing participation of citizens in European Parliament elections illustrates the current impasse, in the context of a dangerous rejection of politics and an impassiveness that considers peace to be taken for granted, if not to be negligible.
We, the democratic coalition from across the political spectrum, make our presence felt in the ongoing never-ending battle “to provide all the member countries with the basic elements”
- (...) In order to achieve today the ideals set by the founding fathers of the EU, Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, Altiero Spinelli, Alcide De Gasperi, and on the occasion of the upcoming European elections, we, the democratic coalition from across the political spectrum, make our presence felt in the ongoing never-ending battle “to provide all the member countries with the basic elements”— as was described plainly by Robert Schuman in 1950: "Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity." A solidarity — a universal value bridging cooperation between states, continents, cultures.