May 29th, 2014
in Op Ed
by LEAP/Europe 2020, Leap2020.eu
After two deliberately alarmist issues, our team wants to get back on the path of positive anticipation. Not that Europe is yet out of trouble but Political Anticipation (1) as conceived by its inventor, Franck Biancheri, stating that man is the author of his own destiny provided that he arms himself with the means to have a good understanding of the trends at work, aims to envisage desirable and feasible futures and identify players, openings and choices to draw upon to build this desirable and feasible future.
Political anticipation isn’t afraid of being wrong in its forecasts (2) provided that it has contributed to a better understanding of the dynamics at work, pick up the trends supporting a positive future and show how to capitalize on these future paths. Because political anticipation isn’t a crystal ball but a rational tool to help make a decision and thus “armageddonist” scenarios (3) whose purpose is to paralyse people by terrifying and crushing them will never be the basis of its business.
That said, for more than two months not only our team has let itself be overcome by a certain despair noting the incredible collapse of European political leadership (if there are no more decision-makers what can one do with our tool to help make a decision?), but we also felt that a justified pessimism would also contribute to creating the conditions for the necessary jolt.
« Europe will be forged from crises and will be the sum of the solutions to these crises”, wrote Jean Monnet and the fact is that the global systemic crisis got Europe – Euroland to be exact – to take giant steps forward. It’s these developments that the GEAB has accurately analysed and anticipated since 2006. But, from the beginning, as we mentioned in the last issue, the political crisis which has arisen from this huge transition has an inevitable deadline. Either European politics finds its creative energy there, or the European project and the European countries with it, go into the dustbin of history.
UKRAINIAN CRISIS AND EUROPEAN ELECTIONS
The media world shows here again its role in Europe’s de-politization process. The most glaring example is the decision of the CSA that France Television, the French public television, would not re-broadcast the trans-European debates. This is outrageous! What on earth could justify such a decision? (42)
Despite this type of democratic blocking, it is yet difficult to completely escape the European election campaign which, in the context of a major crisis all over Europe, is creating the conditions for public speaking and debates bringing out different positions on issues related to Ukraine, the Euro-Russian relations, independence and peace in Europe, the weight of lobbies, the TTIP, etc. This debate is, of course, too poorly relayed by the mainstream media, but the candidates’ campaign activity, through the social networks, is already creating an interesting buzz, illustrating the real opinions, which the decision makers can use to strengthen some of their actions. Let’s quote again the case of the Landing Commemoration: it is not so sure that François Hollande, outside the election campaign and having a better ability to listen to opinions, would have dared impose Putin to participate. The media could have more easily thrown their hands up in horror "on behalf" of the French people. During campaigns, the politicians have the opportunity to listen more carefully to their citizens.
The candidates of the major European parties, being under a coalition for the first time in the European electoral history, are unfortunately inaudible. The media does not speak about them, we already stated that. Also, they convey a speech too low considering the seriousness of the situation and their ability to change things.
Most Europeans didn’t understand the fact that these elections were different from others due to the significantly more trans-European content, thanks to their candidates and joint programs. What a pity, because, apart from the opportunity they provide for public expression, these elections will not do much things to inform European citizens about the issues facing the continent and the ways forward.
The main messages transmitted to the citizens are those asking them to vote and to trust the major parties which are not responsible for the problems (search for the error) rather than vote for the extreme-sided parties. This is called blocking the citizens’ political thinking within a heartbreaking alternative: the "establishment" or Hitler. But there are dozens of small and medium-sized progressive parties (PMP) which, as well as the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), are the real platforms of political innovation. If the major parties are, unfortunately, ever-present at the national level, the European level is a virgin democratic arena which can convey a renewal space for content and political methods in Europe. Of course, these PMP are weak, very disorganized and, finally, very national (43).
But their diversity allows everyone to choose the one having a closer speech to their own and thus express their opinion. However, for a serious vote, we advise our readers to compare the intent statements and actual votes of the candidates of those parties who are already in the European Parliament (44). Hopefully, one day, the gathering of these small progressive parties on a trans-European platform could create a founding event for the European democracy.
THE EU INSTITUTIONAL BLOCKING – COULD IT BE DESIRABLE AFTER ALL?
Meanwhile, the European election and the perfectly unsound democratic system which is inaugurated there, expose the whole EU to a dreadful risk of institutional deadlock. We had described its outcome in the December issue; our analysis remains almost the same ten days before the election. We continue to anticipate serious difficulties in the process of appointing key positions of the EU system: President of the Commission, the Council Presidency, the Parliament Presidency, the Eurogroup Presidency, the EEAS Presidency. An article presented in the EUobserver newspaper describes very well the situation, we therefore recommend a careful lecture (45).
In the last issue, we even imagined that the institutional deadlock, possibly also the political one (especially caused by a breakthrough of anti-democratic parties "justifying" the interruption of the whole EU democratic process and the non-recognition of the vote) could have served certain interests. Today, our team is wondering whether the Member States would not be interested in such a blockage (an institutional one, anyway) in order to ultimately weaken the EU or even record its implosion, and launch some new dynamics ... around the euro zone, for example.
After all, if the EU institutional machinery starts to pinch, it will be perfectly legitimate to accelerate the construction of a Euro Area political union, as recommended by the GEAB since several years. We remind you that Schäuble regularly calls for the creation of a Parliament of the Euro Zone, which implies the idea of elections in the Euro Zone, meaning a new invention of modern trans-European electoral system, meaning the emergence of new trans-European parties, meaning the emergence of Euro-citizens and the inauguration of the Euro Zone polical union. And then we can say that Europe is inventing itself in times of crises and is the sum of the solutions it brings.
The current European Parliament could even go on having the control in such an evolutionary time, by launching the initiative not under the form of an ex-nihilo new Parliament, but the creation of a super-committee of the Euroland (or a sub-Parliament of the Euro Zone) gathering 28 states representatives electing a “board” composed of 18 Euro Zone member States representatives. This super-committee would instantly become the representative body, so much needed by the ECB and the Eurogroup in order to articulate democratically their decisions and give them weight and legitimacy. Some kind of a crisis, this time from above, would be foreseeable at that point, especially if the EP decides to choose a unique meeting place ... and that place would certainly not be Brussels! (46)
Layout of the full article:
1. THE UKRAINIAN CRISIS IS TESTING EUROPE’S INDEPENDENCE
2. SERIAL LOSS OF SOVEREIGNTY
3. THE HUGE CRISIS IN EUROPEAN LEADERSHIP
4. AN ALREADY VISIBLE JOLT?
5. UKRAINIAN CRISIS AND EUROPEAN ELECTIONS
6. THE EU INSTITUTIONAL BLOCKING – COULD IT BE DESIRABLE AFTER ALL?
7. GIVING AWAY THE SINGLE THOUGHT IN THE ECONOMY ... AND ELSEWEHERE
This public announcement contains excerpt from sections 5 and 6.
1 Also taught by the Foundation for Education and Training in Political Anticipation,FEFAP.
2 Of course, the success rate is an indication of the anticipations' quality, but a 100% success rate is an impossible aim. Humility is needed when we speak of the future…
3 "God sent" plagues such as meteorites, epidemics, US invincibility, global warming, etc.
42 Source: Euractiv, 06/05/2014
43 The one and only really trans-European party is Newropeans, created in 2005 by Franck Biancheri, with no national basis, directly at European level. This party chose not to run for the 2014 elections, certainly because the conditions were still not fulfilled to make more difference inside the campaign then outside. Nevertheless, Newropeans has just launched an interesting questionnaire for the candidates running the elections, on their positions concerning « « Six burning issues for historical European elections ».
44 Thanks to the website site www.votewatch.eu
45 Source: EUObserver, 12/05/2014
46 We are referencing once again the work of Europe 2020 since early 2000, speaking of the Euroring project and the “unghettoing” of the EU institutions: Euroring, for a new institutional geography of Europe.