For me it is clear that our political family has to engage in a recruiting narrative for the 21st century, innovating our traditional values of redistribution and social justice, making them fit for the challenges we face. Socialists and democrats have always been in the business of minimising risks for everyone. We have entered a new area with totally new risks. Therefor we need a new socialism, a new social democracy on a new level: A European Union that transcends the economic logic to become a Union of shared values, shared welfare and shared risks. The place where we do our work, in parliament or government, should be transparant and citizens should be able to hold us to account. And last but not least, if we choose to organise democratic participation we should definitely avoid fake consultations.
The next European election may possibly be the most important and crucial one in the history of our common European project. It’s going to be a defining moment, a real test for us all, and our best opportunity -one that we can’t miss- if we want to stem the tide of rising populism, extremism, nationalism and euroscepticism; if we want to be sure that we Europeans do not repeat the worst chapters of our history. In that challenge, we need all hands aboard. As socialists and social democrats, we are always committed to open more and better channels of communication and to foster a frank and open discussion with citizens. We want to listen from you! Don’t hesitate to tell us your concerns, your proposals, your criticisms! One of the core issues in the upcoming election is going to be migration and asylum policies, a matter that is very close to my heart and my activity in the European Parliament. I firmly believe that, far from being a problem or a crisis, migration is a human phenomenon from which all -both countries of origin and destination- can benefit if properly managed. Enough of scapegoating migrants! We need to break the current narrative dominated by a right-wing -if not a far-right- approach, and stand firm against those who build their political project upon fear, division and prejudice. Let us know your views on this or any other matter of your interest!
As a Member of European Parliament and VP of Socialists and Democrats, responsible for Communication, I strongly believe that our engagement with the citizens is of crucial importance. We need to communicate Europe better, change our rigid Brussels language, make our policies more tangible and make our citizens believe that what we do is changing their life for the better. And we can only do that if we actively engage with them. We have to start to listen to one another. Brussels is too often percieved as a closed circle of political elites and business lobbyists. We need to break with these practices where ever they exists in order to improve the image of “weak European policies and distant European parliamentarians”. I believe I belong to a generation of progressive, modern politicians that are close to young and “revolutionary” voices, but I also have respect for criticism and experience of those who have lived through crisis, poverty and despair. As a former journalist, I often say that politicans and journalists have something in common. People in both professions need to be experts on how to communicate with the public. They also need to have the knowledge and be able to deliver the content. So my question is: How to engage our citizens more actively in the European project and how to increase the participation in the election processes? First of all, by being someone that our people can trust. I don’t want to live in a Slovenia where I do not have any decent opportunities for an education or a job. I don’t want to live in a Europe where I have to be afraid of nationalism, intolerance, hate speech or xenophobia. I want a Europe for the people. Current discussions about the Spitzenkandidat and the transnational lists are important for engaging all Europeans in the discussions about the future of Europe. We find ourselves at the crossroad of what kind of integration we want. It is crucial we discuss this together. Perhaps it has never been as important as today that our citizens voice their opinion. For an alternative Europe, for a Europe that brings back trust and strength to our citizens. Chosing the Spitzenkandidat can be one of the tools to create a single European electorat which strengthens our European identity. The decision on transnational lists will demand more fine tuning, but it can also be a step in the right direction to give our citizens a truly European choice. Though one can not be so naïve that the election proceedures themselves will bring a greater number of voters to the polls. I believe that confidence is what really matters. The confidence that our chosen leaders will work with the people for the people’s interests and put citizens back in the heart of their politics. This is what I stand for. As someone who strongly believes that we need each other, I think we need to share and promote ideas that create a better life for everyone, a decent and dignified life with equal rights and equal opportunities, for a just and social Europe that promotes peace, stability, tolerance and openess. For a modern and strong European Union in which each and everyone will feel safe and be proud to say: ”I am a European!”