September 16, 2016
Guest blog post by Charles De Serres and Vanja Stenius, Lagom House
Yes, but he will need a crowbar to do it.
It will take an experienced and sometimes autocratic person to force through the changes needed for the European Union either to survive, or to be rebuilt from the ground up. Whatever path will be taken, the problem cannot be solved with endless negotiations and compromises during which time the various populist and nationalist groups have time to unite and create realities that counter what a united Europe stands for.
It is right that Germany, France and the autocrats in Brussels take the blame for an EU that nobody really wants anymore, an EU with some Member States for whose only reason membership is ridiculously agricultural subsidies and hidden transfer payments coupled with membership a la carte. It is also right to recognize that Germany, France and Brussels had plenty of support from the populist nationalistic interests in various Member States in creating an ugly piñata that nobody would really want were it not for the candy distributed when hit long and hard enough.
Mr. Juncker is seen as a man of the past, a man responsible for many of the EU excesses. He is also the only one current capable of standing up to the powers of Berlin, Paris, Rome, and London. But if he really believes in one Europe, then he has to exchange his suit for a uniform and fight for this new Europe as the EU is currently in the middle of an ideological war. The outcome should not be determined by who is left standing, but by which idea, which ideology, will assure a sustainable future for the nations and regions that choose to be a part of it.
It is up to Mr. Juncker to follow the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Margret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan and force through the necessary changes, that or go down in history as the man responsible for the demise of a great idea.
What the EU now needs is a “More and a Less” of Europe based on a framework with a common idea that Member States, whether all or only a few, can agree on.
The only idea that is meaningful and understandable enough to unite all factions is Sustainability. Every person, every parent has a natural instinct for survival and for providing for and securing tomorrow without putting one’s life in danger – Sustainability assures this.
Sustainability has been advocated and practiced for centuries in many different forms and degrees by various groups with success. Europe now has the opportunity to declare Sustainability as the foundation of the New Europe as outlined by the founders of Lagom House in “Mandate for Sustainability” on 25 June 2016 and echoed by Karl Falkenberg of the EC’s European Political Strategy Centre on 20 July 2016 in “Sustainability Now! A European Vision for Sustainability”.
This New Europe comprises:
- A Republic of Europe built on a constitution based on Sustainability with all laws and directives measured by the values of sustainability.
- A Republic of Europe governed by a House of Representatives, Senate and President with a common “green economy”, currency, tax laws, defense, point based immigration system, labor laws, retirement and social benefits, and civil, criminal and educational framework; a Republic with one passport, one official language, freedom of movement, and the possibility for both sides to terminate membership in the Republic of Europe.
- A Republic of Europe represented by directly elected representatives of Member States determined by self-elected historical, cultural and societal boundaries, and not divided by the current partially artificially created national borders; a Republic in which each Member State has the right to maintain its own heritage, language, culture and education.
- A Republic of Europe with no: transfer payments, subsidies, exemptions to membership rules, special voting or veto rights, economic bailouts, possibility for members to declare bankruptcy, or subsidies for enterprises of any sort.
- A Republic of Europe with term limits, strict lobbying and political donation rules, strict private financing rules for political party financing, no party lists, and strict disclosure rules for all public officials as well as open access to all governmental hearings and meetings except in the case of national security.
As much as it is up to Mr. Juncker to push for this “New Europe” he will need all of us to make it happen. Populist, Nationalist, Socialist, Environmentalist, Atheist, and Believer it is up to us to decide in what world and with whom we want to live. We must decide how serious we are about caring about our children’s future and taking responsibility for our own lives. We must decide put our lives, this future, in our own hands and not into the hands of professional politicians and bureaucrats.
Citizen responsibility and political ownership is possible. Switzerland has shown us how a diverse population can unite and practice direct democracy, personal responsibility, social sustainable liberalism and economy, low taxes, and the duty to participate in the electoral process. A Republic of Europe would make it possible for regions such as Catalan, Tirol and Scotland to participate without the costly and cumbersome creation of being an independent country before joining.
Europe was and is an umbrella of smaller groupings that all strove to have their own home. We must cherish this diversity, providing the basic framework that ensures a peaceful today and tomorrow for all involved.Blogactiv Team