May 24, 2019
This week we are all called, as European citizens, to elect our next European Parliament.
AEGEE has done a lot this year connected to the upcoming elections. We advocated for our generation to make a change and vote, we reached thousands of young people to help them understand better how the European Union works and why it is so important to express ourselves. Voting itself is the first step in order to shape Europe as the place you want it to be, but who you are going to vote for matters just as much.
Europe is trying to become a place where your rights as a young citizen are represented and guaranteed, mobility isn’t a hassle but an opportunity, diversity is welcomed and not rejected.
In the meanwhile, there are political forces gaining popularity through disinformation and populism, who would try to take away these achievements. Some dream about an European Union which is more divided, unfriendly toward less privileged people, more closed inside borders and minds; a weaker Europe.
This beautiful and successful experiment of peace, cooperation, and mutual understanding is the most powerful in the world, but also the most delicate and, increasingly, in danger.
When you’re going to be in the voting booth, give yourself 10 seconds to think: is it time to quit this experience that needed 70 years to come to life, or is it maybe time to shape it and improve it in a way you like more?
Europe needs you to vote, but more than ever, Europe needs you to vote for Europe.
A recurrent populist propaganda point during this campaign was that Europe doesn’t work like some people want to: “less Europe” and prioritising narrow national interests would be a better path forward. However, we know where this path would lead, since we have been there before.
A little less than 74 years ago, Europe woke up from the most horrible nightmare it ever experienced. To make sure this wouldn’t happen again, some European countries slowly started to cooperate, to try to understand each other, to tie themselves together. Over time this family was joined by countries from the south of Europe, freeing themselves of their military dictators, then countries from the east, fleeing totalitarian occupation and countries from the Balkans, where memories of the atrocities of war and ethnic cleansing are still very fresh.
Together, all these diverse countries from very different backgrounds set about to build a closer, stronger, better Europe.
The nightmare metaphor isn’t accidental; the greatest historical responsibility for the tragic wars, atrocities, and dictatorships of the past go to the people who decided not to take action in time, to ignore the threats of nationalism and extreme ideologies, who chose not to vote against it, to protest against it, to fight against it.
Nightmares only happen to people who are asleep.
Wake up. Your vote counts.Author : Communications AEGEE-Europe