We're stronger together

Leave has won. This is a very sad day for all of Europe. Clearly, we cannot just continue with business as usual after this referendum. We have to understand what went wrong and goes wrong and take lessons from that.

We need to have a clear answer to the question “Why do we need the European Union?” We need it to face challenges like climate change, globalisation and inequality, to name just a few, that we cannot face alone. We are stronger if we work together. In fact, if we didn’t have the EU right now, we would have to invent it. 

But that’s not enough yet. We also need to do the action of “facing” those challenges. Just by saying that we will manage them we don’t do that yet. And this is currently a big problem. The EU is not delivering on solidarity, see refugee crisis, it is not delivering on social rights, tax evasion and not on stopping climate change. To be a credible answer to the “what for” question, you actually have to show that you can be the answer.

To address those issues, a third item comes into play: how we take decisions in the EU. Currently, everything that files under “Crises”, be it economy, migration or Brexit referendum, is decided by the heads of state and government. The Parliament is left outside. Austerity and Turkey-Deal were not a decision by Parliament, but by the governments behind closed doors. We need to make decision-making more democratic and more transparent. Especially when it comes to crises!

The referendum has also shown that it’s the young people who support the European project most. They are benefitting most from free movement, Erasmus and the like. We need to make sure that their future is not blocked.

The vote made clear that “Europe” still stands for the idea of openness and solidarity. This is something to cherish and to build upon.


Ska Keller, 24 June 2016

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