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I am a Global Citizen. Topics Editor's Pick Pick Editor's. Because the European Union is becoming a state, at European Alternatives we believe that its inhabitants need to become active citizens.
There is no real democracy without active citizenship. It is of the responsibility of all to check what is done at the institutional level and this is what the Manifesto does. JI: In what way is the Manifesto different from the other participating tools available in a democracy elections, petitions…? But the European parliament is one of the only parliaments in the world which does not have power to initiate legislation. It is more a consultative body. This in a way explains why turnout has been decreasing since we started voting in the European elections in It illustrates both the lack of popular interest on European issues and the lack of trust.
Before , people had difficulties understanding who was responsible for what in the EU. Now especially in the Eurozone , citizens start to see what the EU is responsible for. They start seeing that there are problems which must be solved by the EU only. Raising this awareness is our objective. With the Manifesto we wanted to take a chance to make these elections meaningful.
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At the moment, European elections concentrate popular anger toward national issues on the EU. We often hear the media talking about the democratic deficit. This means that Members of the European parliament MEPs need to be elected by Europeans based on their answer to European issues not national problems.
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For these reasons we try to breach this gap and in three years we tried to involve citizens to make them express their views and priorities. We want to silence criticisms about the non-involvement of citizens about the EU. There is a timid but growing interest in EU issues and we try to collect them in this document. JI: Is such a participative approach a way to bring citizens back into the field of decision-making? How could you secure this commitment and involvement in the future?
Are you still in contact with some of the people who participated in the Manifesto? This shows the number of people who are involved. The Transeuropa network was created out of these panels. When people realised the importance of what we were doing, some decided to join us and created local European Alternatives group in their own city. But we do not want only politically active people to join us. We want to be inclusive and before the European parliament elections we will organise caravans that will go through the EU, stop in cities, present the manifesto, organise public hearings on it.
We will listen to people who do not see that their issues are to be solved by EU legislation. We had such an example with Italian tomato-farmers. This is exactly the type of problems on which the EU can have an effect international trade, tariffs, quality of food products. But the farmers were protesting locally and were not addressing the right decision-maker. We told them that they should be careful at the coming European elections. JI: When turnout is so low, how do you do to interest people in EU issues? There are better tools for that Euro barometer, European parliament elections.
Instead we are trying to gather different people who are politically active at local and national levels and make them see that their struggles are connecter to wider and bigger issues. We do not think that leaving the EU or sending back migrants is the solution to our problems. We talked to many people from different communities, we tried to be as inclusive as possible and we tried to connect their opinions.