Today, first of January 2013, starts the “European Year of the Citizen“. I am a European citizen, since 1993. But I’m tired of the talks, the debates, the good intentions – I want to decide!
“Join the debate!” the European Commission screams at us, European Citizens. Three options we have to reach the ivory tower:
This platform is our “single access point” to discuss with the European Commission. Our “choice” is to complete one of the many consultations, so time-consuming and complicated only organized NGOs and lobby-organizations can participate regularly. Or we “discuss” on Blogs of EC officials (blogs of private persons, NGOs, or media outlets are not listed) or join in social media debates with EC representatives. While these possibilities are more extended than I know from my national government1, the whole platform is based on citizens talking up to the Commission (instead we finally need the citizens to fix the agenda).
I wrote a lot already about the problems of the ECI: an improvement over ‘nothing’, the tool is still far away from giving European citizens any real and easy means of political participation. While at some point the Commission is trying to alleviate the initial problems of the ECI, it still proves it’s reluctance to accept true citizens participation by blocking certain ECIs from registration.
“Politicians from the European Commission will be coming to a city near you to listen to what you think about your rights and the future of the European Union.” – The result is illustrated by the follow-ups: Vivianne Reding portraits and declarations of good intentions. I don’t want to talk about the future of the EU anymore – I want to make it!
Don’t get me wrong – the European Commission is trying to improve the image of the “far away decision-makers in Brussels”. Debate is important – but debates that remain philosophical exercises are tiresome and unproductive: we need a European Union that moves, from the bottom, to shape a future vision of a democratic EU.
The European Commission has the power to give a true meaning to “European Citizenship”:
- I want truly European elections and vote for candidates from other countries. I want young people to be able to vote and truly create the future Union.
- I want a truly democratic European Union with decision-makers whose rule-making powers are based on democratic legitimacy. I want a unified European election procedure based on the “one person – one vote” principle. I want a European government, elected, chosen on democratic principles, independent of nationality and political games and compromises.
- I want a European Union protecting my rights as a citizen instead of promoting a surveillance state based on fear, uncertainty and doubt. I want to fly to an EU country and being treated like a citizens and not a terrorist. I want to call who I want without being monitored.
- I want a truly border-less Europe without any physical or virtual borders. I despite censorship attempts and traveling restrictions.
I could continue endlessly… these wishes of mine are nothing revolutionary. They are the basing principles of the European Union. I am trying, to my abilities, to constructively work for a more participatory European Union – that is my good intention for 2013 and the European Year of Citizens. I expect the same from European politicians.
Instead of asking for my opinion, dear European Commission, give me the tools to make my own Europe, a Europe of Citizens!