In each and every EU member state populism and nationalism is on the rise. Listening to the many officials one has the impression Europe is about money, employment and efficient development. But what about freedom, values, peace and common beliefs? What about the general prosperity we have been experiencing since its very beginning?
A year ago, the Pulse of Europe movement arose when many feared rising right-wing extremists in France, the Netherlands and some other local elections. Brexit, the US and some other nationalist populism in Russia, Turkey and Indonesia, autocrat mainstream developments in India, China and now Brazil all give the impression, democracy is fading and receding world-wide.
Since the elections went rather well the wave of sympathy for such European movement is calming down. And now? Just look around, populism keeps rising and my fear is it will turn widely-accepted mainstream. I hardly see any movement and only little official politics or communal mainstream against nationalisms. Obviously, there is awkwardness around how to handle and surveys show people feel rising anti-Europeanism and xenophoboia. The French and German anti-European movement now officially states a Frexit and/or Dexit are no option, but they did not turn into Europhiles.
There may be some movements against nationalism, populism and anti-democratic movements. Analyzing policies and results or successes of populist autocrats it turns obvious, being “against” is not enough to run a country. Calling one’s own political understanding as “illiberal democracy” is a contradiction in itself.
Liberal politicians are intimidated, openly threatened and even killed, though many insist, the killing of the Danzig mayor has nothing to do with his political belief. A right-wing politician is attacked by a mob in Bremen and his political foes claim “attempt to murder”, but remained silent when a mob chased foreigners in Chemnitz. Physical aggression clearly is not acceptable as the fight against right-wing ideologies has to be by political discussion. Feine Sahne Fischfilet, hard-core left-wing musicians, were under scrutiny and withdrawn support, but it should be in the interest of all, to support initiators of such counter-movement … though admittedly, left-wing extremism is as bad as any other.
Slowly counter-movement becomes stronger as awareness rises, but the fear is it may be too late, too little and too soft. After the Chemnitz ‘riots’, a festival sent a clear message against right-wing populism. Thuringia runs a policy of little needlesticks, and on the German-French day of commemoration the Aachener treaty was mutually signed as an extension to the Elysee treaty. Supposed to send strong signals of European conviction, some claim Germany wants to reclaim the Alsace and other suspect secret agreements behind against others. It is such a joke!
Clearly, the EU needs reform and diversity is its wealth, but some confuse difference to be compared and measured. Tolerance and mutual acceptance have no option. And this is what Europe is about. Europe is about values, core beliefs and diversity. It is about travelling from Finland to Portugal and not having to show your passport once. It is about different interpretations of how to run a country on various levels. But it is not about superseding oneself to others, forbidding external influence but accepting financial support from the Union.
It is about either or: accept the rules, integrate with your profile and contribute to diversity. I hate these idiots around openly fighting European values of morals and nurturing nationalism, violence, egoism and corruption. The scandalous lethargy and indifference of the vast majority is blatant and frustrating. They have not yet understood, the alternative to Europeanism is what you currently see in England. Admittedly, this is not yet the end, but what is the advantage in here? Then rather be part of something but change for the better, because changing the EU is obviously mandatory to its survival.