Like the photo, the trees -symbolizing the countries- are placed on equal power although from different positions that shape the shadow into a new scenario full of nuances and the particularity of each root. The European Union is a group of countries that only by respecting their roots will achieve the goal of cohesion. Brexit exposure the need to drive the Union towards a new road. Is it not enough to reinforce Brussels’s headquarters but to build a new shadow from the light that delivers the spirit of the Union.
Once more and with COVID19 crisis, we are realizing the need to joint efforts in a structured way that contemplate specific needs of each country by moving the current center from Brussels through counterbalance mechanisms coming from the EU Representative Offices.
Solidarity becomes key as stated by IIKe Togyur*:
“Europe’s global action should start with the full solidarity between member states”.
However, not necessarily in the sense that EU is focusing their actions.
Solidarity its about people, not Nations, about results, not fixed political agenda, about fluid processes, not bureaucracy, inclusiveness not vertical relations.
Is it here when we realize that it must be a human-centered strategy rather than a State-centered one. The European Union is an agreement among Nations, not people, but impacts deeply the lives of all. Making of the Union a not real union of States but hard machinery of negotiation processes and bureaucracy that results in inefficiency and a sense of losing sovereignty. Instead, if we strengthen the role of the EU Representative Offices we would achieve a better distribution of power.
The role of each State is becoming more about a “link” with Brussels rather than an open relation of communications and truly results-driven action. Just to see the aid provided for COVID19 or the infamous austerity measures imposed by Troika in the past global financial crisis, invite us to reflect on the real assessment of needs to get into a resilient European Union of Nations and not a resilient European Union institution.
Most of the actions are directly connected to the survival of an old model that shows their weakness very clearly with the “exit” movements. New demands not only come from old prejudices against the Union but for the lack of capacity to manage State´s funds and make fluid communication within EU institutions and among countries.
The lack of institutional empathy towards creating cohesion is what makes them weak although focused on an “all-in-one agenda” that does not helps on the pursue of the spirit and goals for a new Union. After the global crisis of 2008 we wake up to new realities that exposure the huge differences among South, Central, and Eastern Europe. The European Union has not addressed these differences and let the fracture continues. COVID19 is helping on the boost of a renewed spirit towards Brussels-centered strategies and the sense of “being together”, however not on an effective action that balance power among countries.
We also, and sadly are witnessing that countries that are not economically successful are not being enough supported when is it also the responsibility of the EU to make sure that their policies are effective and adapted to the needs of each country, not necessarily the EU as a whole.
Currently, EU Representation Offices holds tasks regarding administrative management almost a “European Union Embassy” rather than work on connecting and building a political agenda to present in Brussels according to local demands from institutions, leaders, or simply citizens. Serving as a bridge and a true Facilitator of processes with Brussels.
Meanwhile, Permanent representation offices in Brussels are submerged into long and tedious bureaucracy processes within a short capacity to influence and to pursue a successful national agenda. Mainly, because the big negotiations between European Union- Nations are performed directly with Governments. There is no active and steady rapport from the different local actors to build a strategy, empowered and solid towards better policies. In fact, the lack of action from EU Representation Offices to hold an agenda of identifying demands, needs, and strengths is the weak point for the idea to construct a Union within fluid communications –Governments and civil society-.
Besides, it contributes to the so-called “loss of sovereignty” that nationalisms from different countries are claiming for. Once in a Union of Nations the concept of sovereignty changes naturally and pacifically, however, if the Union is not walking on the correct direction by empowering and delivering “tailor-made” solutions on an equal basis or/and profitable distribution of resources and international negotiations, it generates a feeling of inoperative and an excess of power.
The rejection to the Union may be fighting back by reforms, decentralizing Brussels machinery, and giving true power to National Lobby offices instead of EU Representative offices that turn to be ineffective and not structured to boost a powerful presence of each Nation.
The European Union and the globalization model are both going through the same constrains: control instead of assuring safety, imposing rules instead of building bridges among countries, to centralize power instead of fair distribution, and finally, the unethical misuse of regional and global benefits from corporations and financial elites. However, the Union and a global model are the spirit and shape for a change. Without them we hold a fractured planet that only moves through agreements, in crisis times is it certainly not enough and the fact that transparency and accountability mechanisms are not working does not mean that the model in itself is wrong.
It is precisely the philosophy from globalists that will make a world truly transparent and accountable in a better and faster way through macro mechanisms of transparency and accountability and a different role from the civil society.
Both models are failing and as a consequence, they boost the same feelings: the sense of losing sovereignty and not gaining results from a joint action, only limitations for their freedom and the increasing standardization of codes of living instead of opportunities to grow in the short-term and become sustainable in the long term. Integration as a threat, not as a smart solution coming from interconnection, mutual learning and a “profitable solidarity”.
Time to reforms, not skepticism, to add value not boycotting, to present proposals not simple rejection, to cooperate on a global or/and multilateral basis.
Time to change Brussels power without undermining European Union spirit and the undeniable need to fight back together against a multiple crisis scenario.
Time to join…not isolate.