The continent of Europe has ripped itself apart multiple times in the last 104 years; twice on a vast scale, then often with smaller, but vicious local implications over the years, up to the turn of this century.
From time to time the continent is still rocked with the effects of long-ago colonialism or a smaller ethnic group demanding a hearing. But some in Europe still have the ability to see a vision of a united and strong Europe. One based on common principles and agreed tenets.
There are a plethora of organizations who are possibly a special interest group, but still look towards a uniting on a broader footing. The young people of Britain who realize that in taking the UK out of Europe their range of opportunities shrank to a small backwater on the western edge is one group. Another is those for whom the proper treatment of populations who were once part of an Empire is a matter of moral necessity.
One of these groups, Sauvons l’Europe (Save Europe), recognizes the inherent positives of the European dream and yet acknowledges the ambivalence of some of the people to an all-powerful state.
On the website, it talks about the idea that people may not like the European Union. Which governmental agency would publicly entertain the idea of whether people like it? But it is essential if the Union is to ever reach its real potential.
The power of a moment like this is in recognizing what the collective values are, and reinforcing those but allowing for different thinking at a local level.
If Europe is ever to work then there will need to be decentralization. There is far too much difference across the huge geography for there to be anything else. But issues like climate change, the free movement of people, an agreement for the protection of minorities, the right to work, freedom from hate, issues which liberal, thinking people already have broad threads of agreement with can create a cohesive dynamic.
The problem with reason
The theory sounds positive. The problem is that progressive, liberal people are the ones who are sidelined by extremists. It is not until the average person decides to stand up and be counted that the voices of the liberal get heard.
Recognizing where power comes from
Sauvon l’Europe has made it their mission to question candidates in European elections at a local and European level. The concept is to get representative bodies in parliament in the individual states and the European Parliament who are knowledgeable about issues on both levels. It is only when the electorate knows the questions to ask will they get the representation that reflects them.
The issues will not be easily solved
We have all heard of problems like the butter mountain and the bureaucracy and the iniquitous waste of money which is habitual. But still, as groups like Sauvon l’Europe recognize the solution lies in sticking with it, not walking away.