Europe is about us and with us. When are we gonna get it? – Lucia Kleštincová

Europe is about us and with us. When are we gonna get it?

13.09.2018 • 2 min readEU

Let’s own the shared responsibility for the Europe we are building for those who are yet to come. And let’s show her (Europe) at least some respect.

Let’s own the shared responsibility for the Europe we are building for those who are yet to come. And let’s show her (Europe) at least some respect.

The President of the European Commission confirmed in his annual speech yesterday that the Commission does to need to praise itself for its proposals. On a daily basis it offers policies that, we believe, move the EU forward and are reflected in the lives we live in peace and prosperity. But it does not have to stay that way.

It isn’t crazy to say that the European debate ahead of the forthcoming European elections can be easily taken over by an anti-European propaganda. And then it will become complete nonsense to even try to talk about forward-looking policies. Of course, Juncker’s speech was filled with references to progressive European legislation. More important than its content, however, is the vision of a strong Europe.

A Europe that can protect impartial elections and a critical debate about the direction of our democracy. We cannot let China, trolls, fake news or Cambridge Analytica decide on our future (@Manfred Weber). We have to resist the fear and anger spread by nationalists and racists (@Ska Keller). Commissioner Šefčovič also stressed the importance of next year’s elections for the future of the EU and our responsiveness to a rapidly changing geopolitical reality.

Slovakia also found its message in the speech. While last year Juncker appreciated our efforts to tackle the dual quality of food, this time we were addressed through a reference to the murder of Ján Kuciak. “Europe must remain a place where the freedom of media is sacred. Too many journalists face blackmail, attacks and even murders.” We must protect our democracy and its advocates – our journalists.

What are then the reactions to SOTEU speech in Slovakia? For example, what is the reaction of our Prime Minister to the proposed removal of unanimity in voting on tax policies? None. I appreciate the efforts of the Commission Representation in Slovakia for its webstreamed debate immediately after the speech (see the recording on their Facebook). Same goes to the N daily for an overview of our politicians’ reactions.

Instead of a critical debate about what kind of Europe we wish for, the news was overtaken by the results of vote on the ‘Hungarian’ report (assessing Hungarian government’s violation of basic democratic principles, limiting the independence of the judiciary and the freedom of speech). Out of thirteen Slovak MEPs, only three voted for the report. This is an obvious sign of “readiness” of our MEPs is to fight for the fundamental pillars of the EU.

When will the Slovaks understand that Europe is all of us together? That the policies made in Brussels are about us and for us? That either we start actively delivering a vision of our active role in Europe, or else we have no right to pretend that Brussels is far away? Of course we can complain about the quality of Juncker’s speech. However, it would be more constructive to put ideas on the table and to present how Slovakia would go about it if ever it won a seat of the Commission President.

The content of this website does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the therein lies entirely with Lucia Klestincova.

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