Nowadays European Union must face many challenges which affect the image of this institution.
Elections for European Parliament are coming, which means this is only one occasion for the nearest 5 years for citizens of Europe to have an influence on the shape of the UE body structure as the European Parliament is the only institution among UE which is chosen through elections in UE countries. This is a very important institution as it approves most of the legal acts and budget for European projects, at the same time it is the most transparent and open organization. In a time when UE face a lot of problems such as a migration crisis, Brexit, breaking European values, social system, protection of boundaries or climate politics it is even more important to take a part in elections. This and economic problems such as implications of the financial crisis from 2008, which are still being felt in some countries can threaten the budget and realization of next projects among UE. However, in my opinion, one of the biggest problems in the functioning of UE is decreasing the possibility to make real influence and draw consequences in case of real threat. This can lead to dropping in trust in UE.
When it comes to the image of UE projects in my homeland, Poland, usually people appreciate the possibilities which UE gives. There are a lot of investments that have been made since Poland is in UE, such as: building new roads, support of entrepreneurship, developing rural areas, educational projects etc. In general, donations cause the growth of the economy. There are also projects which enable young people to get international and intercultural experiences such as Erasmus and Erasmus+. On the other hand, there are some disadvantages that Poland must face after joining to UE, for example, emigration of qualified workforce, limitation of national independence or strange norms (e.g. fine for overproduction of milk). Taking all this into consideration, EU projects are mostly evaluated positively but as always, some bureaucratic stuff can be frustrating.
When it is to the place are living currently, Madeira, I think joining UE has a positive impact on the development of the tourism sector which is one of the most important for the economy of this island. The borders became open and at the same time investments in infrastructure have been started, both these factors made Madeira a more open and friendly destination for tourists.
I hope that Europe which I would see in the next 50 years will be a safe place.
Project co-financed by ERASMUS+.
Students’ Union Polish Volunteer