We share a lot of your frustrations about the direction the EU has taken and agree things need to change to strengthen the social aspect of Europe. However, we have to disagree with what you see as the causes for this. Europe is not subordinating democratic institutions – MEPs in the European Parliament are directly elected by European citizens, the European Council is made up of national governments and the European Commission is accountable to both these bodies. The fact is that the EU has contributed to the longest period of peace and prosperity in modern European history. We live in an ever more globalised world and if we want to tackle the major issues we face – from tax evasion to climate change -then we need to work effectively together. If we split into 28 separate national countries, we would see a race to the bottom on workers’ rights, tax, and environmental standards. For all the faults of the EU, it remains the best model we have to face common challenges and create the more progressives societies that we want to see.
Whether or not we have the EU, globalisation will continue to exist – through technology and through trade, we are more connected to each other and we are more interdependent than ever. That’s not going to go away just because the EU institutions are no longer there… In this context, how we can go back to “rebuilding social democracy only in the national state” when the challenges we face are international? I agree that global capitalism has negatively impacted the working class the most, but it’s only by having social democratic parties at the international level that we can effectively stand up for workers rights. It’s only internationally that we can push back against social dumping, hold multinational companies to account for tax evasion… Also re. Brexit – the UK as a whole in the EU has traditionally been the one pushing a more neo-liberal agenda so I’m not sure I agree with your interpretation of the Brexit vote as a rejection of the EU’s “liberal” ideology. Take a look at some Daily Mail or Sun headlines (the main newspapers pushing for Brexit) headlines to see how social democratic they are..
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Britain was as some would say was only ever “60% in the EU” – but France came worryingly close to electing a similarly anti-European leader. But the real enemy isn’t populism, it’s confusion and misinformation. What I want to ask is what we can do to fight the perception that Europe is undemocratic. I want to know what happened in Britain that caused them to have a mere 27% turnout to their last European election and what we can do to prevent it in other member states. I think the EU should start some initiatives on European openness and media attention. For a start, do you know who your commissioner is and their role in the commission? Which party they belong to? I had to go and google the one for Ireland. I can’t think of any citizen of any country in the EU who doesn’t know the name of their president or prime minister, even most cabinet ministers. Yet the commissioners seem to work in almost absolute silence, allowing the media to concoct any lurid story it wants. The job of a commissioner is nearly as important as prime minister or foreign secretary, so we should all know who we’re dealing with. What I think we should do is have each country’s commissioner regularly speak with the media in their own country. We should see them being talked about and debated every day and everyone should know the name of their commissioner.