Author: Sefer Selimi Jr.
The cacophony in the public discourse following the French veto introduced confusion among the citizens and, as expected, the credibility of the European Union was significantly downgraded among the citizens. This is for a very simple reason, the lack or rather misuse of citizens’ expectations about European integration. Knowing the positive opinion of the citizens about this process, consciously the political parties, especially those in Government, have been hiding behind this process to cover up their failures in governance. Now that we are at this crossroads, we must return to the essence of why we should be part of this union!
First, the process of European Union integration is not only a technical process, but a radical transformation of governance practices from the slack system of socialism to efficient democratic governance, oriented towards quality citizen-focused services rather than what is known within the system, read: in the party.
Secondly, it is a union based on the shared values of the member states and at the heart of it are human rights, dignified life and equal opportunities for all who want to achieve in life. Meanwhile, we still protest against the basic and constitutional right of the citizens of this country to learn in their mother tongue.
Third, it is a political concept closely linked to the market and at its core is economic competition. The potential of each state depends on the ambition, creativity and devotion to the job and not on the sole desire to be a lifelong public administrator without knowing what to do.
Fourth, it is a union that assesses based on individual capabilities and the key posts on which citizens’ lives depend and collective welfare is not shared based on kinship, neighborhoods, villages or proximity to the local chief of staff. Meritocracy is the system through which you can be hired and you have a clear path to a career without having to praise the party leader.
Fifth, the institutions implement the law and fear from the law have only those who violate the law and not those who should implement it.
For more information, you can ask our migrants who live and work in those countries!
All of this should serve as a lesson that we do not need the European Union as a privilege of belonging to a group, but to bring about those tangible standards that improve our daily lives, provide us with quality public services, equal opportunities, collective and individual prospects for prosperity and happiness. At no point should this aspiration be given up, but the Government and the parties should be held accountable for explaining what it means membership to the ordinary citizen rather than selling the same as a pre-election bubble worn in utopian idealism.
In the following period, the key issue will be the management of citizens’ expectations for the EU integration process. All relevant actors have an obligation to explain that beyond our wish to be a member, the European Union has no magic wand to bring us good government and accountable politicians but it offers standards, examples, practice and assistance in applying the same thing at our place. This implies that this transformative process depends directly on us and largely on the capacity of our governors vis-a-vis political parties and their sincere will. Explaining this process, the duration and transformation that must be achieved not only helps to maintain the ideological-political focus and orientation of citizens towards European values, but also an important mechanism to evaluate, criticize and ultimately condemn Governments and political parties that are incapable of meeting those expectations.