Sustaining European growth and integration within the current EU context

Continuing to enlarge the European Union’s borders, expanding its political union and introducing new policies and agendas to extend the relationships between EU countries should and is a political priority. But how can the Commission and the governments of each member-state continue to work towards its evolution when the people are not driven or in support of the “grand idea” anymore?

This article is not intellectual or hard to follow – plain simple ideas and reactions. It works better like this, for the reader to grasp what I am trying to express. Please continue reading and let me know what you think.

Our democratic procedures ensure that the people select who sits on the driver’s seat and I believe all Europeans have great democratic values. Unfortunately, governments have lost their touch with the people, the status quo is being challenged by, mostly young, Europeans who are beginning to question their support and faith in the European institutions and governing.

In a world where people are more interested about what Kim Kardashian wore or didn’t,  a large group of citizens seems to want governments that work for them, for their benefit, with minimal civic engagement. South and Mediterranean Europeans have woken up after an austerity storm and have, in reaction, engaged themselves and pushed for the most obvious, contrasting, radical ideas and parties.

Citizens had lost interest in the commons and the political landscape, many of them because they were finding: understanding the way government works, within the European Union, impossible. But with every crisis comes civil engagement and here’s where pro-European politicians lost the game. In a Europe (EU) where the “poster boy” is the greater european economy – when the economy is in trouble, the EU is in trouble.

The ideals that were once part of the dream or plan for a united, peaceful and prosperous union of states have been brutally sidelined while the big star “THE ECONOMY” is prioritised. Let’s not sidetrack and talk about the global economy, interconnected economies and globalisation – we all, more or less, grasp those concepts and their realities and understand why “THE ECONOMY” is important.

But the European Union is made up of the worlds wealthiest nations – even Greece, Spain, and Portugal yes. The EU is the largest economy in the world. The EU could build on its potential, continue to work towards its “united in diversity” motto and build a super-state that inspires security, trust and world cooperation. Not everyone can live like the 1% of the 1% but the EU can sustain great living standards.

In their paper, submitted to LSE, George Petrakos, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Antonis Rovolis argue that economic growth within the EU could always generate new inequalities. But surely, such inequalities could be manageable and with the right will, both political and from the people, we could be heading towards a much more successful union.

Europeans must be ready to give up their nationalistic ideals, must accept that we live in inclusive times where traditions and cultures blend and create new phenomena. We should be able to accept that as the world ages, if we want to lead we need to set our priorities straight: the political integration of the member states, the cultural integration and cooperation between European citizens should be on top of that list. Continue expanding the single market, the eurozone, the fiscal union, our energy relationships, our common educational standards, research, healthcare and yes, even our military and our space exploration. And of course, all these require finance, strong economies. But we must ensure that the priority is not the economy but rather that our ventures, our ideals and our policies drive the economy and by association, its importance.

There are no PIGS, or Mediterranean, or South, or Northern or FrancoGerman European nations, either we are a European Union or we’re not – and there’s so much potential if we were to be.

This is a lot to process, because I keep on contemplating about the matters at hand and I haven’t released any of these thoughts into the wild in a long time. I began writing mainly for myself to set order to my thoughts. There’s a lot of information and thoughts on here, and everything is arguable and debatable. So I’m happy to hear your thoughts on the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter.


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