Domenico Rossetti di Valdalbero, General Secretary of the Belgian section of the Union of European Federalists (UEF.be) will speak on Saturday at the opening of the #CitizensRoute73. He will answer in particular the question “Why Route73 on the horizon of European election 2019?”
1Head2 Votes – Allowing EU citizens to elect their European representative
The EU is perceived as being responsible for having pushed for technological change and globalisation, thus channelling opposition to multilateral treaties (CETA – Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, TTIP – The Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership, TIS – Trade in Services Agreement) and nationalist parties wishing to make” countries” great again.
Populists and nationalists are channelling this discontent on the EU, which is not anymore a “trendy” idea synonymous with progress, diversity and openness. Still, a majority of Europeans sees in the European level more of a solution than a problem.
The fact is that opponents are more angry, active and vocal. European Federalists should fight for ideas which could mobilize European citizens, including those dubbed the LOLS: the Left Overs by globalisation and the Less Skilled – who cannot benefit from it.
In 2017, France, Germany and The Netherlands will have elections and, in two of them, Eurosceptic parties calling for Exit have a relative majority in polls. Eurosceptic parties are also polling strongly in two other founding states, Belgium and Italy. Whilst Federalist parties start preparing for the next EP elections, chances are there might be none in 2019.
To date, in all countries, candidates to the European Parliament (EP) competed in national or regional electoral colleges. Based on local lists and campaigning on topical national issues. Europe and European issues are seldom mentioned, frustrating European Federalists who would like to vote for their best EUROPEAN candidate whatever its nationality.
In the last European elections, the choice of so-called “SpitzenKandidaten” competing for the Commission Presidency spurred some trans-national debates, forcing EU level parties to select and support a single candidate in all the EU. Only UK opposed this in 2014. As nationalist parties gain influence, there is no certainty that this can happen again for the next European elections in 2019.
The #1Head2Votes proposal of an EU level Electoral College for European elections has already been proposed several times. It would allow each European voter to ALSO vote for a true European candidate, not only those proposed by its national/regional parties. This would allow campaigns stretching more than one country and possibly transform the current associations of national parties into more European level parties.
This proposal is currently supported by most European Federalist movements and parties as an objective for the 2019 European elections. Brexit requires that the 73 UK MEPs (foreseen in the Lisbon treaty) are distributed to other electoral colleges. Member States are already starting to argue on how to allocate these seats. The creation of an EU Electoral College would replace this quarrel by a new Pan-European election giving more European legitimacy to the European Parliament.