European Union decentralization: for an efficient structure and active citizenship



European Union has dramatically moved towards an inefficient and stagnated structure that clearly, is not delivering results. From a joint-action organization that gradually gain power in terms of security and financial stability it has been transformed into a giant bureaucratic apparatus without a results-driven strategy. Nationalist movements as Brexit are based on this kind of failure. When there is not a solid leadership and an smart vision focus that integrates people and interests under principles of diversity and conciliation, authoritarian movements gain space for implementing their isolationist goals.

We need to stop with this spiral of a never-end bureaucratic structure and decision process that is leading to ineffectiveness and a strong loss on credibility.

In current times of security and financial crisis we cannot “sell” the European Union as an organization that delivers protection. In fact, nationalists are correct: we are not safe, however we are not safe either with their isolationist solutions and anti-global focus.

Joint action is definitely the solution for resilience, although not under current model of the European Union based on weak leadership and 0 influence from national citizens. The political class is failing and trust on their decisions is a mistake that is being paid by the raise of nationalist movements within a framework of an -almost “deliberative”- organization without a focused power for making a change.

There are two pillars that represent the key for overcoming this crisis and re-boost the European Union:

1.- Empowerment of citizens

2.- Decentralization from Brussels by transferring power to national representation offices.

A challenge that is not easy to address but it would deliver the necessary foundations for boosting a new innovative structure in which citizens are the main actors and not –as now- the recipients and victims of a mistaken strategy that is going nowhere.

European citizens are not empowered and their representatives are not making them being involved in the decision–making process. Citizens must be an essential part of the institution and only through their active engagement through national structures is that their able make a relevant change according to their needs. In addition to create a framework of trust in which the EU become part of their daily life and not just a philosophical project build by good intentions and utopic goals.

We need “tangibility” on the decisions and not what is currently being delivered: a European Union institutional declaration of good intentions without results.

The reshape of national representative offices represents a boost of democracy that would allow reducing the power and size of Brussels “bureaucratic monster” as well as changing the feeling of the citizens of total lack of credibility on the decisions and the project in itself.

Lets change current trend of “going down” this crisis spiral of centralizing power and lets run upstairs to see the light of a new reshaped model within a flexible, decentralised structure in which citizens become the real agents of change.




*Caixa Forum, Madrid, Spain.

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