For my last night as YEM UK President, I did a road trip to Aberfeldy for the Scotland in Europe event.
Brexit is the British Trump, but – perhaps because it’s the European edition – it’s not shouting and carrying an assault rifle. If Brexit plans to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, it’s not announcing the plan beforehand.
As people are made to believe that they are kin with someone living at the other end of the country, it becomes much easier to justify to them why they should agree to pay taxes to distant communities, or why they should sacrifice their lives as they defend the strange region against an invader. If these bonds of loyalty can exist between Helsinki and Rovaniemi, then why not Helsinki and Athens?
Since I became involved in European affairs, I have had to witness countless group discussions that failed to reach any detailed conclusion, and which resorted to a fallback conclusion along the lines of “we really need to engage young people”. That doesn’t mean Erasmus+ isn’t making a difference.
A grassroots-based party is above all competing on ideas, not on faces. The risk is that voters will try to shape an established party from the inside, instead of abandoning ship. This risk grows if politicians lead by example.
The Commission adopts decisions as a collective and, like any cabinet in a member state, has to be ideologically cohesive for working together to be possible. If in some countries the election is won by a moderate party, and in others by a radical one, the Commission would be doomed to suffer from deep internal divisions.
At many international sporting events, among others, people are forcibly fitted into nationality-based silos that feel artificial to increasingly many people. At EYE, this is not the case. Participants are members of groups that can be based on any common interest. This is not a world of rigid country quotas, but one where people are treated as individuals.
If we can have a European-wide song contest broadcast to homes across the EU and beyond, surely we can provide the same when our democracy is at stake. For decades already, we have got Eurovision every year, and we have loved it. From next year onwards, it’s time for us to hear about what visions our leaders have for Europe, just every five years.