Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Next EU President

With the rise of the far-right parties in Europe is it possible to turn the tide and save the EU commission from disintegration! The results of the recent elections were far from being unpredictable as Cameron himself admitted that he ‘absolutely understood and received the message,’ of voters disillusionment with the future of EU.

However the seemingly simple message from UKIP leader Nigel Farage that immigration is the real issue behind sluggish economy and unemployment is non-existential and not true. In the globalized world of ours economy and trade seeks no boundaries and Britain can achieve sizable gains from investment and business opportunities offered by other European countries. EU provides the mobility to debate climate catastrophes and youth unemployment and it can also be the corridor to offer faith and democracy to closely co-operating states like Ukraine, because in the complex global society it is not divisions, but the soft power of negotiating agendas, relations and economic advantages which matter.

The resounding message of the European elections is that the anxieties around unemployment, austerity measures and immigration from within the EU are proving to be a fertile ground for xenophobic, divisive, and exclusionary forces. In order to send the message across that European Union is a platform to debate and restructure new policies, the political leaders will need to focus on creating a sense to connect with the ordinary citizens, in order to prove that there will be genuine political participation and representation which will lead to debate.

Politics is about personality and if EU members are deciding on whom to elect as the next EU president it is essential that they chose someone who can establish optimism that EU Commission offers meaningful answers to the problems of economic growth and supports the values of an open society. The next president should be able to understand the need to build alliances which will lead to formation of liberal free market blocks. How the eurozone to be made robust and sustainable is what the EU leader should be focused on achieving. Questions on maintaining or abandoning austerity policies should lead to serious debates in the parliament. So far the rise of the far-right parties has undermined the parliament’s claim to democratic legitimacy and the next president will have to convincingly work to prove that the EU has more to offer in terms of participation in lawmaking. 

This obviously requires someone who has worked over broad spectrum successively and has a statesmanlike personality with important portfolios on the international diplomatic stage. If the contenders for the election have to be really well-grounded in understanding the dire need to campaign against the withdrawal from euro and crackdown on immigration the message has to be resounded clearly. The message from the UKIP party does not resound diversity of globalization which creates opportunities and cannot be blamed for giving rise to disengaged societies burdened by the collapse of benefit and health system. A disintegrated Europe will not work in favour of Britain to exercise weight and influence in the world.

The voters have to be won over and EU members must realize that the next leader has to address the democratic debate that ‘Brussels,’ has to change to gain popular support and legitimacy in the longer term.

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