EU, the verdict of the polls ” “There is no going back

400 million European citizens go to vote in an inter-dependent continent

In spite of all those biased persons who turn their backs to the EU and the 22-25 May elections, this continental consultation is interesting for countless reasons, as shown with the media’s interest. The vote could reveal suprises capable of reawakening – in a way or the other – a certain degree of involvement, and even unprecedented pathos apropos of European integration. Indeed, “gratitude” towards the various euro-critical, euro-sceptic voices and stances, that developed in the shadows of the economic crisis, and gained full media attention, was already acknowledged. Whether by calling for a “different”, “new”, “lighter” EU or raging against EU institutions demanding their annihilation, the “less Europe” and the “no Europe” movements have forced politicians, parties, governments, parliaments and even a large number of citizens to reflect on the advantages and disadvantages brought by the European Union. Over the past months the items of the debates were the crisis and economic governance, single currency and employment, of ECB and banking union, migration and cohesion funds etc. Sometimes the discussions were grounded on relevant claims and others they were branded with slogans. Open reflections were even centered on the increased powers of the European Parliament within the institutional architecture of the EU and the “weight” of the vote given that it will contribute to determine the next president of the EU commission. It could also be asked whether precisely because of the unprecedented European debate calling into question EU integration, will affect the turnout at the polls and whether attendance will be higher or lower compared to the previous elections (2009, 43% of voters). The novelty of this – yet incomplete and premature – “borderless” debate is accompanied by a set of relevant issues, linked to an interpretation of the results at national level. Moreover, European elections are likely to be interpreted as a referendum for or against the governments-in-office. This has proven to be true in France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Hungary, Greece, whose national political leaders engaged in refuting the claims of the various Le Pen, Farage, Grillo, Tspiras. The 2014 elections, owing to widespread euroscepticism, will be remembered for a greater degree of “political homogeneity”, meaning that various forms of nationalism, protectionism, populism, and xenophobia have marked the geographic map of the Old Continent. It could be objected that the focus of the matter is a form of uniformity, rather than homogeneity, given the fact that these movements or political parties largely differ in terms of their history, objectives, slogans and “habit”. In fact, the scenario envisaging their strong presence in Strasbourg (with 20 to 30% of seats?) should not be underestimated, considering at the same time their inability to act on the basis common grounds or shared political goals. Various questions are raised especially when focusing on those political forces self-described as pro- European, notably the EPP, the Socialists & Democrats, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens. One could wonder, for example to what extent they are capable of involving the voters, how persuasive are their pro-European stands, what is the cornerstone they rely to start anew with a younger, different, efficient Europe, capable of delivering productive results to European citizens. Now it’s the time to pass from words to the ballot box. Starting the night of May 25 there will nothing else to be done than assess the results of the polls. What will the future composition of the EU Parliament look like? What is the relationship between pro-EU forces and those willing to work against? Will it be necessary to reach agreements between the EPP and the Socialists and Democrats for the election of the President of the Commission with a sort of European-tainted “grosse koalition”? Many questions accompanied by one – certainty: in the global world interdependence between European peoples and states has grown in every sector and has become a stable element of our epoch. Economic, financial, energetic, environmental, social and cultural interdependence closely binds Europeans to the rest of the world. Thus there is no going back. The EU continues its progress, despite its limits and inconsistencies, in that directions, as underlined by practically all Bishops’ Conferences in Europe, inviting the faithful to go to the polls. It’s a scenario that can be liked or disliked, welcomed and improved. The ball is in the citizens-voters’ field.

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