An European alliance or a populist alliance

Lots of people in the European Union seem not to understand the need of having all the different countries or states to form one united block. Several populist politicians try to have the citizens of their country to believe they would be better off without the many immigrants and without the European Union.

Matteo Salvini Viminale (cropped).jpg

Deputy Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Salvini Viminale

Dissatisfaction with the EU on a raft of issues – from immigration to the economy – may result in a surge of support for so-called populist parties. Italy’s Matteo Salvini certainly hopes that anti-establishment parties win big in the May vote, paving the way for a populist alliance to reform the EU and craft the institutions in their own image.

With harsh words for Brussels and displays of affection for illiberal leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump, several populist leaders are perceived as being entirely focused on clawing back power for national governments at the expense of European integration. Some, like Farage, do not mind telling a lot of lies and giving the people lots of promises, they themselves know they can not be made true.

Some may want us to believe that those populist leaders when in charge would be more pragmatic, willing to cut deals with their ideological enemies at home or abroad if it benefits their voters, and that they would be less likely to want to bring down the EU to their — and everybody else’s — disadvantage than to try to work the EU system to their advantage, harnessing it to their agenda.

Political analysts point out that, despite previous electoral success, European populists have struggled when it comes to unity of purpose or message. Perhaps unsurprisingly, nationalist political movements find international coordination with other nationalists a challenge, particularly when “populist” parties often hail from radically different ends of the political spectrum.

Six countries collectively account for more than 60 percent of the current populist members of the European Parliament. Recent polling and historical performance suggest that populist parties will increase their number of seats in these countries by half. {EU Elections: Has Populism Peaked?}

EU-sceptics and anti-immigration have won popularity the last few years. We face many challenges, from globalisation, to the impact of new technologies on society and jobs, to security concerns. The rise of populism and all that change makes people uncertain and afraid, willing to follow those who blame others for what goes wrong.

Europe being under pressure with the Brexit as well as being at a crossroads and needing to decide how it wants to tackle the challenges of today, has to provide enough information to its citizens so that they may not be lured in such adventures as the British people.

We also see a sword of Damocles in the need of protecting our borders while preserving the right to free movement within Europe, at the same time facing security threats at our doors and within our Union with the build-up of troops at our eastern borders, war and terrorism in the Middle East and Africa.

A lot of people also do not seem to see the importance of Europe’s changing place in an evolving world with for its community a shrinking population and waning economic power.
With the ageing population we not only need to modernise our social welfare systems but we have to provide young blood for taking their workplace and providing taxpayers to offer enough money to pay for them all and for the necessary infrastructure.

Next to the European Pillar of Social Rights, which consists of 20 key principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems, we need to restore people’s trust making it clear that the Pillar is not only designed as a compass for a renewed process of upward convergence towards better working and living conditions in Europe, but that when everybody wants to work to the goals of it, we can make it.
Social dialogue and involvement of workers, as well as clear rules on working conditions, are among the main principles of the Pillar. It is up to the politicians and people in charge of the economy to deliver according to expectations and to build consensus between member states. The citizens of the Union have to see that everything is done to get well-functioning and fair European labour markets, effective and sustainable social protection systems. The people should notice not only the promotion of social dialogue at all levels but have to see some positive results of it.

Future programmes should continue focusing on those who are most in need and where funding gaps exist in the respective country.

Countries sharing the euro as a single currency could do more together in the social field to preserve the strength and stability of the euro area and to avoid abrupt adjustments in the living standards of its citizens. Other interested countries could participate as well. But the Union should also make work of it to reduce the misuse of the Euro coin to make the prices of the products go up as if it is nothing.

People have to come aware that the ones in the European Parliament are willing to work for the people. The citizens have to see that those leaders in the Union are really building a fairer Europe and want to give a key priority to strengthening its social dimension. The scoreboard, tracking trends and performances across EU countries in 12 areas, serves to assess progress towards a social ‘triple A’ for the EU as a whole. And it is that triple A that should convince people to go together for that European dream which should not be a fata morgana.

In case so many feel that they are exploited, betrayed, neglected, corrupted by an evil elite, we should find the reasons for their feelings and investigate what can be done to give them a more positive feeling for what is possible in the European Union when everybody wants to co-operate in the system.

The least unequal societies in Europe tend to have the lowest levels of poverty, and to have been less impacted by the crisis. In such places we also find less peevishness. As community we should try to avoid resentment and strive to a feeling of well-being. When people can be made assure that those incoming immigrants would not take their jobs away, but are a necessary asset to take on jobs many people from here do not want to do, they would have no reason to go against them. Also when they can find that the governments in charge are willing to choose to give priority to ensuring adequate minimum income levels and ensuring good access to services, through the social protection system and through guaranteeing minimum wage levels, they shall not so easily mislead by those right-wing parties which are good in telling half-truths and whole-falsehoods.

When we can show people which countries are the most effective at redistributing wealth through the tax and other systems, they perhaps shall think about it when this also would be implemented in their surroundings. This means that the decisions over how to eradicate poverty and displeasure in the end are political choices about the kind of society we want.

Over the last 40 years, the ideological dividing lines over the survival of the EU seemed clear, but the last five years the EU got severe cracks. We should have people come to see how the European Union has given long-lasting peace across our continent and still can provide peace and wealth for all its citizens.

In the past the European Union also could bring people together around the fundamental values of democracy, human rights, freedom and equality. The gap which has brought a black and grubby filthy hard to fade out stain must be filled back with good binder or long-lasting glue.

Democracy needs to be lived in order to remain alive. Therefore citizens across Europe are urged to go out and vote in the European elections from 23-26 May 2019 in order to have a say on the future and to defend democracy, sustainable economic growth and social justice.

The EU has been instrumental in making the European way of life what it is today. It has brought unprecedented economic and social progress and continues to bring tangible benefits for citizens, workers and enterprises across Europe.

Being confronted by uncertain times for Europe and for the world there is a need for people to examine very well the promises of their politicians. Whilst we are on a path towards recovery, the economic and social consequences of the crisis can still be felt by citizens, workers and enterprises.
Those people questioning or even rejecting the European project should wonder what they want in place and what their beloved politicians really have to offer them.

We are facing huge challenges – international tensions, re-defining the EU-UK relationship, migration, unemployment, prospects for our youth, the climate and digital transformation and in several countries, increasing economic and social inequalities. But the answer is not to pull up the drawbridge and retreat – we must stand up and take action in a united way.

The EU project has to remain resilient and strong and we with the European Social Partners, believe that it can continue to help us to face our challenges and design a brighter future for Europe, its citizens, workers and enterprises.

Are you willing to believe in Europe, a Europe which is still one of the best places in the world to live, work and do business?
We have much to be proud of and to cherish and we should build on this, together.

In this spirit, let us all go for a united democratic European Union, where we all can live with different sorts of people, of different cultures, religions and different attitudes. Let us also continue to contribute to a successful European project and a united Europe that delivers for its workers and enterprises, initiatives that improve their everyday lives and offer a better future full of opportunities for all.



Race to the bottom of refugee rights in European Union #1 Danish an Swedish view

Race to the bottom of refugee rights in European Union #2 Branded as a ghetto

Establishment of a European Pillar of Social Rights

Involvement and implementation of European Pillar of Social Rights

About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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