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EUDemocrats: “Eurosceptics” are “EU-critics” or “EU-reformists”

According to the world’s biggest on-line encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, "Euroscepticism has become a general term for opposition to the process of integration". This definition reflects quite well the general misconception floating around the word "euroscepticism". "Eurosceptics" are found to be leftists, rightists, ecologists, libertarians, nationalists and even federalists. It is not rare, indeed, to hear critics about a lack of transparency or democracy in Europe among the very pro-European group of federalists.

To put it on a provocative way, in the current European context one should actually be careful when publicly criticizing the EU as that might lead to the label of "eurosceptic". This process labels quite unfairly people that are willing and entitled to exert their freedom of expression to dispute some of the irregularities that affect the European Union.

Defining "Euroscepticism" is not possible. However, it can be better understood by opposition to the ideology of Europeanism, which Czech President Vaclav Klaus considers being the dominant ideology of contemporary Europe. Klaus argues: "In spite of the existing pluralism of opinions in many particular things, this ideology more or less determines all the important current events in Europe through its exceptional strength, its general acceptance and its dangerous simplicity".

Like all ideologies, Europeanism is a dream that started in a very restricted group of people, the fathers of Europe (Churchill, Monnet, Schuman, Spaak). The idea was thought to be noble and the integration dynamic was then widely supported by intellectuals all around Europe. But today, the Brussels’ bubble and the Commission have become the core centre for Europeanists for which there can be no alternative to further integration until a United-States-of Europe-like state is achieved. In this forced march, Europeanists seem to favour quantity over quality, causing the EU to be criticized by democrats around Europe and digging into the gap that separates institutions from citizens. Some Europeanists are so blind that their compulsive obsession to dismantle national states – thought to be responsible for all misfortune in Europe – drives them to build a centralized omnipotent state. Finally, one thing that unites Europeanists around Europe is their common rejection of critics, for they feel they are invested with some kind of mystical mission: making Europe a super economic-political-military power able to compete with the emerging powers at any cost.

In this context, "Euroscepticism" appears as a healthy way to promote democracy. "Euroscepticism" is the representation of the right of the people of Europe to debate the future of Europe. It is the opposition’s voice to a certain system, and the plurality of its arguments make it difficult to identify it to mere nationalist claims. In fact, among the group of so-called "Eurosceptics", many would rather call themselves "EU-critics" or "EU-reformists".

The EUDemocrats is a European Political Party established in Denmark in 2005. Its founders' main idea is to bring real debate among European citizens on problems that are affecting the EU. The EUDemocrats’ political program is based on four pillars that constitute a basis for protecting democracy in the EU.

The first pillar, democracy, requires reinstating the process of checks and balances, ensuring that none of the institutions can increase its responsibilities. The second pillar strives to produce more transparency for it is essential in a democracy that citizens know what is occurring with the governing entities. The third pillar ensures that, as a general rule, competences should be exerted at the lowest possible level so that it stays close to the citizens. It is called subsidiarity. The last pillar aims at preserving the heritage of each member state and region of Europe regarding culture, tradition and language. Economically, socially and politically speaking, diversity is a necessary competitive advantage in the process of globalization. Therefore, harmonization finds its limits where the people’s own cultures are endangered. Although these proposals would sound reasonable to many, the EUDemocrats is “victim” of its ambitions: changing Europe’s direction equals being "eurosceptic" (which is only a nicer way of saying anti-European).

The principle of inertia that characterizes human societies induces some resistance to change. In this context, the dominant ideology finds its ways to reinforce its positions using all available instruments and discouraging new ideas to emerge on the political sphere. But sooner or later, the dominants will lose their influence and, only then, could the people start looking in a more objective way at the alternatives. “Eurosceptics” across Europe are waiting for this moment to create a real debate on the future of Europe. Let’s hope, for the sake of democracy, that the people will still be willing to sit and talk together. History has taught us that ignoring the people may lead to the worst forms of radicalism.

Géraud de Ville, Communication Officer EUDemocrats

This article was published in Politeia Newsletter 46 - October 2007

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