The day after – Winners and losers

The day after – Winners and losers

CEMÉA embraces Solidar’s communiqué

Sharing Solidar’s views, Les CEMÉA stresses on the urgency to act with all its weight to bring change and contain the rise of extremisms (and ultimately fascism). Les CEMÉA embraces the proposition for the reinterpretation of the European Parliament’s slogan « act, react, impact » that had been put forward at the occasion of the last European elections.

« Solidar est un réseau européen regroupant 59 associations membres (dont les CEMÉA) dans 25 pays, qui lutte en faveur de la justice sociale, de la solidarité, de l’égalité et de la participation en Europe et dans le monde. Solidar défend les intérêts de ses organisations membres auprès des institutions européennes et internationales en faisant du lobbying, en organisant des forums et en rédigeant des avis et communiqués sur les actualités. Solidar est membre de la Plateforme sociale, d’Eucis-LLL et de Concord. »

Communiqué from Conny Reuter, SOLIDAR Secretary General

The day after – Winners and losers

The European elections that ended yesterday have not yet produced a clear winner, but are already teaching us some lessons:

  1. The personalisation of the campaign with leading candidates was a step in the right direction. It gave a more European dimension to the elections and in many cases, raised the attention of the media as well as of the public opinion. In some countries the participation in the poll was raised, but still remains disappointingly low compared to the national elections. The message that “your vote counts” seems to have been mainly understood by extremists, fascists and populists. Their results are increasing and this fact is most worrying.
  2. Now, it would be a mistake to only concentrate on the question: How to compose a majority in the EP which will be able to propose a candidate for the position of the Commission President? The strong extremist vote calls for a political reaction which shall be more than simply ensuring majorities: the need for re-establishing trust and credibility in the capacity of democracy to find a solution towards tackling the most urgent social needs within the EU.
  3. Whereas in an early stage votes for right-wing extremists or true fascists were most likely a vote out of opposition, today, the ideas of the far-rights have now entered the political sphere and have reached the core of our societies. When center-right, and also sometimes center-left, parties think that the best way to absorb the electoral potential of the extreme- right is to integrate parts of their xenophobic positions and their security discourse, we always see the same result: in the end people would rather vote for the original than for the ‘copy’.
  4. Unfortunately the media bears strong responsibility and is therefore also accountable for the increase in far right votes: in the course of market shares, journalism has often lost its quality and analytical faculty. In TV reporters have often become the policy and opinion makers and in order to increase attention, they like inviting provocative extremists and give them the floor in debates. Furthermore it was disappointing to see the low level of competence of many journalists that reported on Europe, which eased the arguments of the ‘Europhobe’ throughout Europe.
  5. But, and herein lays the real danger: the political discourse is habilitated and the democratic consensus is weakened. France is the best example that proves how this process initially allowed for right-wing extremists to get their foot in the door at local and regional council level and now even within EP. Unfortunately in EU 28 there is a political space for right-wing extremism, due to the vast social imbalances and also the incapacity of the actual majorities to give real answers instead of only making promises regarding the most urgent social needs at hand. If the focus still remains on saving the banks and attacking the fundamental values of our welfare states, we cannot stop this process. Martin Schulz therefore has set the right priorities and should be able to gather a majority around these issues to unleash a real political change!
  6. Winning elections is more than a campaign for votes. The stable strength of the Greens shows that their stability is more due to the fact that they remain implemented in their ‘milieu’. This is why they concentrate on their key competences and why they remain successful at their level. Social democracy should remember that their strengths were the strong links not only with trade union movement, but also with civil society and its organisations.
  7. As SOLIDAR, we call our civil society fellows to consider common mobilisation and joint action. We have been arguing for political change and we will propose a roadmap (our blueprint) for social justice to the new EP and the new Commission. Just “business as usual” is not only non-effective, but highly dangerous! We can build on the recommendations of the Alliance around the European Year on Active Citizenship because they present the programme for freedom, democracy, as well as for economic, social, cultural and civic rights.
  8. In the reactions on the yesterday’s result, we here now that there is no more place for calling for more Europe. We do not need less Europe, but more common sense and a socially responsible policy that dries out the landscape of extremists and fascists: a more social Europe!
  9. Our European project has been built on lessons learnt from the 30ies of the last century, which led to war. It is built on values and based on the Charta of Fundamental Rights. Freedom of speech yes, but not for hate, xenophobia and racism!

Interpreting the EP election slogan the right way:

Now it is time that we should react, act and impact!

 Source : - Rédigé le : 3 June 2014