The time is ripe for a transnational, transgenerational, transpartisan, grass-roots and crowd-funded movement to take European integration to the next level. And before forming a party, we should look to Europe’s success stories to determine what our platform might be.
Let the Finns teach us about education; the French about health care; the Germans about flexible employment; the Swedes about gender equality.
At the moment, European countries continue to take comfort in their Old World status symbols. We boast rich histories and beautiful monuments and draw the world’s tourists, who admire our culture, fashion and gastronomy.
But Old World status symbols and tourists won’t save Europe. They might save Paris, Berlin, Rome and London, just as they will save the Loire Valley, Bavaria, Tuscany and Oxfordshire. However, outside the museum-filled capitals and historic countrysides, the rest of Europe is plagued by chronic unemployment, dismal growth and rapidly aging populations.
It is not that our elected leaders are malevolent or incapable of facing this challenge. They simply aren’t wired to understand the central reality of politics today. It’s naïve to expect traditional politicians elected for four- or five-year terms by citizens from within a sovereign territory to adequately address issues like resource scarcity, deforestation, chronic unemployment, global warming and fishery depletion that are intrinsically global, and whose resolution will take decades.
Today’s solutions need to be transnational, or they won’t be real solutions at all.