European elections and the future of European Union

European elections and the future of European Union

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The elections to the European Parliament are approaching, and, once again, millions of Europeans are called to vote. These elections are especially important, as crucial decisions will be taken in the coming years that will affect climate change, the resettlement of refugees and asylum seekers and the sovereignty of the peoples of Europe.

However, we can say that elections to the European Parliament do not usually attract much interest in the population, at least in Spain, because the power of the European Commission is perceived as something limited and distant that does not have much impact on the member States.

Even so, I believe that we are living a decisive period in terms of the continuity of the Union since the resolutions adopted after the 2008 crisis and the subsequent rise of the extreme right worldwide have created a great discredit on the project of the European Union. This will be surely the biggest challenge for the next legislature because, although it is true that many wrong decisions were made during the crisis, the solution should be to create a joint project in which we can all believe and trust and not isolate ourselves behind our borders and see others as enemies.

In spite of this, it would be perhaps interesting to review the current Treaties, I mean the one of Lisbon, because, through it, the European Union has taken some liberties related to international trade and consumer (un)protection (remember the TTIP and the CETA) that have profound labour, health and environmental consequences and whose negotiations have been made behind the European population’s back.

Anyway, I think there is one aspect of the European Union to which we could all contribute, and it is the cohesion of the peoples of Europe. It is true that the European Commission will have to continue funding and promoting programs such as Erasmus or EVS to boost the feeling of unity of European citizens, but each one as an individual has the responsibility to have an open mind to what surrounds them; and to understand that, in the end, we are not so different.

Project co-financed by ERASMUS+.

Jone Areta
Students’ Union Basque Country Volunteer