The launch event of the Th!nk About It project in Brussels raised a few essential questions when it comes to the EU. While they are not new questions, they still come to people’s minds whenever the discussion takes them towards the essence of the phenomenon, beyond bureaucracy and procedures. What is the EU in the minds of Europeans, why do we need it, how can we bring it closer to us, how does it influence our daily lives, why should we vote for a Parliament with (still) very limited powers etc?
All these questions are legitimate, even more today, when the EU has expanded to such a large number of states and turned into something completely different than what it was more than 50 years ago. However, we might never find answers to such questions, or at least not answers that would satisfy our need for good, solid answers. The simple reason for this is that all these questions originate in our knowledge of the states we live in, in how these states are organized and what their purpose is.
But comparing the EU with the (nation) states we are used to live in can only lead to significant differences. The EU is nothing similar to a state and maybe the problem of EU-makers has always been the attempt to make the EU look as much as possible like a state, at least with respect to the institutional system. The EU is nothing something formed and developed bottom up, but was from the begining an elitist project, ‘imposed’ on the Europeans top down. I do not mean to sound like a typical euroskeptic, but this is a fact we need to acknowledge.
For example, national parliaments emerged from the need of the people to be represented, while the European Parliament was ‘invented’ by the EU elites in order to make Europeans feel represented. The same kind of comparisons can be made for other EU institutions, but the European Parliament is probably the institution that has had the most to suffer from this mimetic approach used in the drawing of the EU’s institutional framework.
Maybe the wisest thing to do in order to find answers to these fundamental questions we have about the EU is not to think of the EU as what it is today, but to what each of us would want it to be, without intending to start an utopian institutional revolution. Blogging about this is the first step to let EU elites what people think, what WE think, and make our voice heard.