Finally, in the last days before the elections, some conclusions can be made, and our candidates did some interesting proposals in the Dutch EP debates I have followed quite some debates, both live and over twitter, tv and radio, and today, one day before the Dutch elections, I will draw my conclusions.
One of the most important topics we should take in account is not discussed at all. The European Parliament has to fight for its own rights, and the willingness of elected MEP’s to force the Council into accepting new realities should be one of the key issues to determine your vote. It will be examples like stopping the Strassbourg meetings of the Parliament that will earn the Parliament more rights then the Lisbon treaty itself. The willingness to force the Council to accept what an overwelming majority of people in Europe want, even if in contradiction to the treaty, is going to make the European Parliament a real people’s Parliament.
Europe is becoming a racist union. It was publicist Yoeri Albrecht who rightly concluded this after seeing how much governments and parties are excluding the membership of Turkey because of its religion. Other arguments are considered valid (like the role of the army in politics, the occupation of part of Cyprus and the denial of what happened to Armenians), but those can be changed by Turkey in time. By excluding Turkey in principle, religious racism comes in.
Luckily, until now, the European Union has brought us peace and prosperity. A Parliament that is most likely to accept that the governments are in charge, and the conclusion that Europe is becoming racist are not making me smile. But there is hope too. It is shown in my top 3 of proposals being done by future Dutch MEP’s:
Three positive proposals
1) Do not try to arrange everything directly on a European level. You can also do a lot of things on a national level (or with some countries) first, and then show that it works and have other countries copy it. Dutch MEP candidate Wim van der Camp, CDA/EPP, suggested this approach with his proposal to give all high school students, after passing their final exams, a month of free train traveling though the European Union. A great proposal by itself, but the approach was most appealing to me. Making rules and finding a budget for this in the EU would take years, while it can be arranged by the Dutch government and national trains companies within a year.
2) Stop downloading music or films being illegal. Several Dutch MEP candidates proposed that the law should be adjusted to the technical posibilities of today and that alternative rewards for musicians should be implemented. Especially on a European scale, making downloading legal can work, provided that successfull musicians can still earn money with their products. It seems that, although the Dutch do not have a Pirate Party, they are starting to learn
3) Start a procedure against Italy for its lack of press freedom. The argumentation is that procedures for not following all EU rules are taken against Romania and Bulgaria, but that also Italy is not following principles of the EU. The proposal by the Dutch MEP candidate Judith Sargentini (GroenLinks/Greens) has been positively welcomed in The Netherlands. If the procedure is being followed, the result could be that Italy will temporarily not have a vote in the European Council. Now, let’s see how other countries think about this.
I would like to end with a point of view that is not surprising from a Dutch view, but important for a lot of progressive youth all over Europe. In an overwelming majority, the Dutch MEPs want Europe to stay away of the Dutch soft drugs policy in order to keep the successfull Dutch approach: separating the (tolerated) soft drug sellers from the (illegal) hard drug criminals. Their conclusion is that although national governments still are reluctant to copy the Dutch approach, more and more cities and regions in Europe are implementing it. By keeping the European Union out, Europe is able to let soft drug policies in.
Note: all pictures were found with www.youthmedia.eu