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We in the Socialists and Democrats value democracy so much that we put it in our name. Yet democracy worldwide is under more threat than ever before. A President of the United States who won fewer personal votes than his rival is elected. A referendum on membership of the European Union won on lies, deceit and by a small majority. These are just two obvious examples, but there are plenty more. A poll in Austria not too long ago showed that one in every four citizens desired a ‘strong man’ to lead the country. Other evidence seems to show that young people, who didn’t experience the horrors of the two World Wars in the last century, do not value democracy as much anymore. Within member states of the European Union, there are governments who are becoming increasingly autocratic.
We in the Socialists and Democrats have to combat this. We have to recognise that democracy has its weaknesses, but it is the best system we could possibly have. That’s why the European elections in 2019 and general elections in member states are so important. We have to show that the European future of lower social inequality, generational justice and equal opportunities for all is left. May 2019 is our first opportunity do that. If we don’t, the consequences could be worse than anything we can imagine.
If we look back at the time,we will find that the foundations of democracy were built in the state of Athens.However,democracy, liberty and the freedom of speech were a privilege only men had,and particulary the Athenians.Women,children and slaves didnt have the right to express their opinion,the oportunity to vote or be voted.We realise that it wasnt a real democracy,but a gift only few people had.The same situation probably happens in EU.Although our political system is considered as a democratic and fair one,many people dont have the chance to choose their fate,either if it has to do with elections,or an economical decision.Somehow ,politicaly and economicaly stronger countries often threat without noticing,weaker countries with the threat of terminating their funding assist,or even publishing inaccurate predictions for their future.We even seperated in our minds the EU countries ,depend on their economical power,and now it is divided to ”North Europe” and ”South Europe”.So we still do the same mistake.Most of the protests that they take place in the EU are ending with a violent way.Now we give more attention to who is going to be in charge,rather than who is going to make the big change.This is not democracy.It is the same thing with the state of Athens.If it really was,all of them should have equal rights and the chance to speak freely.So we need to adapt a democratic system that will elevate the spirit of the whole Europe,with equal rights for everyone,the right to speak and protest peacefully,no matter their economical status,their sex,origin,political beliefs.
The EU has been demonstrating for years the diversity of their population, I think it’s time to include another perception of identity among the citizens, being European must not mean leaving our “nationals identities” for acquiring the “new European identity”. From my point of view, the institutions should promote a cosmopolitan and European vision if we want to face the global risks we are facing and the news to come. There is not another better way if we understand each other and we cooperate to deal with the problems and create a better future for our children.
A new conception of European identity which would be based on the individuality of every person, that’s what I’m talking about, the future of Europe is cosmopolitan.
Finally, I would like to finish with a quotation by Ulrich Beck, who advocates for the cosmopolitan view in his book named “The Cosmopolitan Vision” (2006): “What, then, does the cosmopolitan outlook signify? […] the cosmopolitan outlook means that, in a world of global crisis and dangers produced by civilizational and international, us and them, lose their validity and a new cosmopolitan realism becomes essential to survival.” (13-14)