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A newcomer's view: vision, democracy, defining and building the new Europe

18.06.2014 - 16:30
Michal Boni MEP

These first days in the European Parliament have definitely been a new experience for me. New and stimulating. I am already learning from my colleagues: how to find my own way on activities I would like to pursue, how to bring others round to my views, how to contribute effectively to the work of the Parliament.

I can see already now that there are three crucial reference points for assessing the possible objectives of the new Parliament.

A strategic vision for Europe’s future

Firstly, the question of Europe's future development. We need to debate a strategic vision for Europe, if we want to avoid the threat of Europe's drift and global marginalisation.

This debate should target not only post-crisis problems and options for post-crisis management, but focus on long-term challenges for Europe Michał Boni MEP

This debate should target not only post-crisis problems and options for post-crisis management, but focus on long-term challenges for Europe. As Nobel Prize winner Edmund Phelps said: "The state of Europe is not described simply by the financial crisis but is also due to a loss of innovation that happened a long time ago".

The state of Europe is not described simply by the financial crisis but is also due to a loss of innovation that happened a long time ago Edmund Phelps

It is important to discuss new impulses for socio-economic growth and the improvement of quality of life. This means comprehensive tools for development, especially using the opportunities provided by knowledge capital development and by the digital revolution, as well as the finalisation of the single market in various remaining areas. One of the most important tools is also the existence of the single currency across the EU.

Democratising European decision-making

Secondly, the need to refresh the idea of democracy and European citizenship. We in the European Parliament should respond to the democratic deficit in Europe, put it on the table and discuss the problem: how to strengthen Europe's problem-solving capacity.

The traditional, conventional model of representative democracy has lost its power. People, especially the young generation, need participation and the feeling of real influence in finding solutions in the area of politics Michał Boni

Why the need for 'refreshing' democracy? The traditional, conventional model of representative democracy has lost its power. People, especially the young generation, need participation and the feeling of real influence in finding solutions in the area of politics.

We should change the framework of decision-making processes. We should use digital tools for refreshing democracy. This means using online consultation, treating and using citizens as a source of knowledge, this simply means open governance at the European level.

This is a question of trust, the problem is how to restore confidence. We should remember that we need to respond to our citizens, not to ourselves

We all know that this is not only a technological problem. This is a question of trust, the problem is how to restore confidence. We should remember that we need to respond to our citizens, not to ourselves.

Defining and building European integration

And thirdly, the question: what is Europe, now? Is it still the idea of common values? What is the real level of integration? What does 'we, Europeans' mean? Nations, political leaders, public opinion leaders, European citizens with national identities?

If the composition of the Parliament reflects the attitudes of Europeans, we should start a robust discussion on Europe's integration again - as Monnet and Schuman did many years ago. And we also need great leaders for European integration, as we had then.

We should start a robust discussion on Europe's integration again - as Monnet and Schuman did many years ago. And we also need great leaders for European integration.

Our post-elections obligation is to define Europe under these new conditions. But 'defining' is not sufficient for Europe's development or for the effectiveness of European institutions. The message is to define and to build. This is the only good response to destructive, anti-European activities.

Michał Boni MEP (Poland)

We believe in people. #believeinpeople @MichalBoni

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