środa, 20 maja 2009

"Głos młodych w demokratycznej Europie"

Uczestniczyłem dzisiaj w panelu z wiceprzewodniczącą KE Margot Wallström, rektorem SGH Adamem Budnikowskim i podsekretarzem stanu w UKIE Maciejem Szpunarem w panelu dyskusyjnym. Bardzo przyjemne doświadczenie, niestety nie mam dzisiaj czasu więcej napisać.

Tekst mojego wystąpienia (niestety pisałem je z dnia na dzień):

I am privileged to be here as a representative of the students. Nevertheless I will not presume to speak for them. For this school is known for having a very individualistic set of students, who are diverse in the field of ideas and obviously do not need me to tell them what they think. I will speak then as a young person in Europe, who is very interested in where this unprecedented European Experiment is headed and in what kind of world we will live in years from now.

It remains unknown what exact percentage of Polish laws is currently being created at the European level. It is said, to be between 70 and 80 percent. Germans say, it is 84% of their laws. Sadly, one could hardly know that from the traditional media. In fact, information tends to be so superficial and naïve that some people are inclined to see it as propaganda and turn against the EU altogether. For the European Project to progress properly, much more knowledge will be needed on the part of citizens. Not only because it will enable them to shape the EU, but also because it will enable them to scrutinize the EU. We shall not forget that the EU, however nice, is a political body. Government restrained by the individual rights of its citizens is perhaps the grandest invention of Europe. This however cannot be achieved if people are not informed well enough to safeguard this restraint. And this, I imagine, is why the job of Commissioner Wallstrom is so important.

This high percentage of laws that are created on the European level is also why European elections are important. I do not advocate voting for its own sake. In fact, I believe that in some rare cases abstaining from voting may also be a vote. Nevertheless let us not forget, that if there would be no candidate that someone could vote for, then surely another could be found, who one would not want to win. This is an individual decision, but whatever it may turn out to be, democracy does not end there. One would do good to influence his representative after the election. Perhaps a system in which the constituents could replace their representative before his term ends would ensure that the representatives keep listening after being elected.

Lack of interest is not only the fault of private citizens. It is hardly surprising that European treaties which are hundreds of pages long are not being read across the continent. Notwithstanding, again only the people of Europe can change this undesirable status.

Perhaps in this, still new, century, the Internet with the abundance of information, will allow us to make democracy as efficient as never before. The opportunities in transparency and citizens participation seem almost endless. This may be the way to make democracy more direct and more informed, and to eliminate the sad controversies which are currently associated with national referendums.

Why do I care what goes on in the EU? I personally believe that we find ourselves at a critical junction in Europe's history. The coming years may shape Europe for the generations to come. This truly could be an exciting time. If we only remember that Europe never was about consensus. It was about diversity and from diversity, competition and progress followed. This, I believe, is the opportunity that stands before us. To unite Europe as much, as to let the peaceful competition continue, common market flourish and to make the continent safe. To divide the power between European, member state and local authorities, as to empower the individual. In the end, if only done correctly, this will allow us to utilize our diversity, not only the diversity of cultures and backgrounds, but far more importantly the diversity of ideas.

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