Civic engagement and utopias: opening the decision-making processes

Oct 11th 2021

1. A Utopian Europe
Utopias are achievable, and Europe needs a new utopian project, which includes all citizens. It requires a project that allows the well-being of each citizen, as this will enable them to grow as citizens and take on a more active role in society. However, this utopia cannot be built by itself – it cannot be built alone. It is necessary to bet on partnerships, on transnationalism, to build a better Europe. It is necessary to create a global Europe, or it risks losing itself.
2. “Europe is you!”
The citizens want to participate in European policies – they want to participate in the deliberative process of European decisions. However, they feel that there is no way to do this, and, for that reason, many end up turning to populism, which destroys European cohesion and unity instead of promoting it. The European discussion and decision-making need to open doors to all citizens and listen to what they have to say. Europe cannot make decisions that affect millions of people by itself. For such, we need more direct democracy initiatives, such as citizens’ assemblies.
3. European community
Community means that all citizens are on an equal footing and can participate in Europe’s decision-making processes. The word “Union” took away this participation. The change from the European Community to the European Union has led to the loss of European ideals.
4. Where is the hospitality?
Migration laws must be reviewed. Migrants are sent back to their country, even while they are still waiting for a response to their appeal. Reception centers are actually detention centers where, many times, migrants do not have the right to a lawyer. How can then we talk about hospitality when migration laws do not allow us to welcome citizens of other countries with open arms? When borders, created to reduce inequalities, are now surrounded by walls to prevent movement between countries? Europe is much more than territories! Furthermore, migrations processes are quite bureaucratic, always putting obstacles to migrants looking for a better life in Europe – who are seeking refuge in Europe. The welcoming of migrants is a challenge that must be faced by the institutions, many of which are xenophobic.
5. Global common good: the planet
As mentioned, Europe is much more than territories, and the climate shows that. The climate belongs to everyone; it is a global common good. For that reason, it must be recognized as such (a proposal demanding this recognition has already been submitted, but it still awaits an answer).
It will only be possible to decolonize Europe when the climate is recognized as a common good. Europe must acknowledge and take responsibility for its role in climate change; it must recognize that the pollution it causes affects the “third world countries,” the most impoverished, increasingly diminishing their livelihoods and causing catastrophic natural disasters.

Organised by CTOE