november 8, 2012

”A head full of fear has no room for dreams”

Debating populism and political apathy in Europe on the ELDR-Congress in Dublin. The question is: how to combat nationalism and populism.

We must remember: the populist leaders may be monsters in many ways, but remember that the voters are not monsters, at least not all of them.

Many of the European citizens are afraid of their future. The citizens are facing real problems, and we as politicians must take their fears seriously. This is the liberal challenge in Europe today.

The challenge is: How to get these people’s votes without using populist rethoric? Well, we need to see free liberal markets, free trade and to create jobs and growth. We need to see a future for Europe beyond the crisis. The social liberal challenge is to present chances in life to the people.

When looking ourselves into the mirror we need to ask ourselves, how can we present new chances in life to people in all ages? The crisis we see today a crisis of the lack of trust in Europe. Of course it is an economical and financial crisis, but in the end of the day it comes down to the lack of trust in your heart and in mind.

In the public debate we repeatingly hear rascism stereotypes. All the time we hear statements about statements of the lazy Greeks, the greedy Germans, the Portugese taking siesta. But what would happen if we change therse lazy Greeks to lazy Africans? What would happen? We would not accept it. We would react to these strongly rascistical and insulting statements. But as it is today in Europe we just take this for natural without doing anything, we just take it for freedom of speach.

We blame somebody else for the fear that we are carrying within ourselves.

So what is the solution? We need to say ”MORE Europe”. Europe is the solution and not the problem. We need to increase the integration. Let’s fill the words and statement with some kind of content. Then it means something.  Europe is still the largest economy of the world, and it is a prospeous continent. We should not be complaining that much. Europe can be the soltuon if we let it be the solution. We need to encourage people to have hope for their future, by continuing to invest on research, improve our internal market, and harmonize our legislation, so that businesses don’t need to know 27 different legislations, but one solely European one.

Solidarity is a good word, it is a fantastic thing, it can encourage people to have hope for the future. To be alone is not to be strong. In unity we can be strong.

We need to share values principles and best practises. That is the way that we can combat populism.

Let people dream and keep the dream alive.

Cecilia Wikström

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