Too much concentration of power has as a direct consequence the shape of a political elite that works without contact with the people and their real needs. The famous Atomium in Brussels illustrates this perspective: from outside it looks as different spheres that are united but not well connected and from inside, stairs that make the visitor moves smoothly and easily from one to the other on a full connection basis. This is the best way to see the European Union under current state of chaos: a group of States with their own individuality that allows all citizens to circulate easily from one country to the other having links that do not depend from just one centralized sphere but on an equal basis and ideological diversity acceptance.
Brussels has become a big bureaucratic monster that does not deliver trust to their members and citizens. Current status quo create the paradox to boost anti-European movements that still believe on a pro-European philosophy, however not on current leadership and mechanisms. European Nationalisms come precisely for this loss of confidence from citizens not exactly from the project in itself. Just to see the argumentations made for Brexiters we can see that at a philosophical level there are almost no complains but clearly on the consequences: anarchical free movement of people, impact of global migration crisis, the financial impact of an extremely centralized –global- system and threats in relation to European security. Those are all elements to take into account not for dismantled the Union but to reshape it and create a new decentralized structure that delivers power –and sense of power- to citizens. Under this idea there ´ll not be room for Nationalisms or an exacerbated defense of national sovereignty. In a sense is the same that is happening with the globalization model that is is not working because of many failures coming from an elite of interests. Is this aspect, especially on financial terms that build anger against “sharing the State” with others countries.
Its important to highlight that a structure that is not flexible it s more vulnerable to crises. In the case of UK, unresolved national crises have lead citizens to believe that the EU hold responsibility for that, which is not true. The EU is and must be responsible only for those aspects in which there are not delivering solutions because of an excess of centralization, not easy access to citizens and incapacity for handling crises effectively as migration –as the case of Italy-.
The challenge of a global model in crisis pushes for innovative solutions in which flexibility and a new concept of sovereignty is needed to address the Union as a resilient framework not just the merge of Nations that doesn’t allow ideological diversity. Catalonia is a clear example that Nationalisms are not necessary anti-European but new concepts of national sovereignty. There is not one model of anti-European /Nationalism but different types of demands and needs within a framework of European institutional crisis. We need to jump to a new stage in which institutions and leaders become more open and flexible enough to allow citizens to apply their own concept of what means European Union.
Nationalisms must be one more perspective not just an aggressive response for the lack of flexibility and opacity from an institution that becomes a bureaucratic and centralised elite out of contact with the citizenship´s needs. Indeed, current anti-European movements exposure that the model is not working and an urgent change must to be achieved in order to bring to the stage the real actors: citizens.
Creating more reflection will help to rebuild the Union as well as prevent a mistaken idea of a “failed Union” rather than a “failed implementation”. There are practical mechanisms to do so, as to give more power to EU local offices, that become truly representatives of a centralized institution: bureaucratic and ineffective for working democratically by approaching more citizens. This distance is becoming wider with the pass of the time and is a main factor for making anti-European/Nationalists messages stronger and compelling.
If we see an innovative European Union as a building, the Atomium represents perfectly the idea of interconnection and reliability from citizens. Gathering different Nations –spheres- on equal basis although tailored-made solutions and applying to each country and the own needs of their citizens. As the stairs that connect each sphere, the movement of people is not only within Europe but also to the own structure in Brussels through the local offices.
Only when we make clear of what is needed and make sure that political leaders are transparent is when we could make the EU a tangible institution not just a philosophical idea.
Does it mean resign to the project of an “even closer union”? Maybe, but definitely we need to explore and challenge our capacity to address this crisis of credibility on a more open way. Current structure is not inclusive and this situation makes citizens rely only on their political representatives in which Brussels its just part of an idea rather to a framework that delivers solutions in the short term for pressing national issues.
Decentralisation is key for recovering trust on the European Union and for making this paramount change an inclusive and innovative approach from Brussels; respecting ideological diversity is one of those aspects that must be addressed to make of Nationalism a challenge, not a war. As well as exploring new concepts of sovereignty that better represent national interests.
Re-connecting the spheres…..