And now? Sustainable Democracy!
The day after the European elections many voices were satisfied that the anti-democratic and extreme right would not be as strongly represented in the new European Parliament as many of us thought. However, their ideas continue to penetrate into the heart of our societies, as the detailed election results show. We have to state that democracy is under threat although, luckily, a huge majority still believe in the EU. However, the belief in democracy as the best societal system is eroding. Something is changing in our societies that goes beyond electoral results: fragmentation through rising inequalities leads to confrontations, individualism nourishes egoism and undermines the ideas of sharing and of solidarity. There is a fear factor and anger against whomever and whatever are polluting the public sphere. Classical media that have been intimidated by the far right (“liars”) are now used by them to fan the flames of their fake news and provocation. The climate change issue that has also been brought back to the agenda through the Fridays for Future movement is, ultimately, also a kind of fear factor, although nourished by real facts of climate change. Statements like “we cannot trust politicians as they have done nothing against climate change” is an expression of mistrust and is simply wrong, but who will dare to say so in the time of this popular movement? The reality is that it is a matter of the political choices of political majorities, and these need to change.
Regaining voters and rethinking campaigning as political parties do is not enough. It is about how to rebuild a social network through social links, not only in the sense of social protection schemes but in the sense of social relations, democratic confrontation and the search for democratic consensus. How can we reinvent and defend democracy in these times? In this sense, we will continue to be interlocutors for the European institutions, but our main task, after all, is to contribute through our networks to anchor the fundamental and democratic, progressive values in our societies! Democratic REUnaissance!
Co-Chair of the Liaison Group