Brexit, Grexit, animosities, frustrated citizens, a rising euro-scepticism and a permanent EU crisis – all this calls for a fundamental debate among citizens throughout Europe on the future of our continent, to find a way towards a free, democratic, prosperous common Europe. “Our New Europe” invites the citizens in 51 European countries to participate and to vote for their new Europe.
So far, there has never been a EU-wide referendum, asking the citizens for their opinion, let alone for their decision, on the future of Europe. Worse, the results of some national referenda regarding the EU have even been ignored, e.g. in 2005, when the French and Dutch citizens rejected the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe", which thereafter was in substance all the same enforced as the Lisbon Treaty. It is time for Europe to take its citizens seriously.
A fundamental debate instead of permanent fire brigade exercises
The main question is: Do Europeans really want to get involved with Europe? Do they have enough courage and confidence in themselves as enlightened, emancipated citizens to design their new Europe, or should the future of our continent essentially be left to politicians, as up to now?
What kind of democracy do the citizens want: Abraham Lincoln’s “government of the people, by the people, for the people”, or nothing but EU elections every five years? Do the citizens want to have their word - or even the final word - to say in their Europe, e.g. on the transfer of competences to the EU, or on the admission of new member countries? Should a new European constitution be adopted in the same way as the Treaty of Lisbon, or more democratically, by a Constitutional council, elected by the people, and then set into force by referendum in each member country?
What kind of Europe do Europeans want: An ever more centralized, politically integrated union, or a more decentralized, federal, multifaceted Europe, which preserves its great cultural and political diversity? Should member countries be relegated to do nothing but carrying out the EU’s decisions, or should they basically decide themselves as much as possible?
What Is the significance of subsidiarity: Is this
just a nice, often-cited principle; or does it mean to separate competences so that the responsibility lies consistently with the smallest entity capable to solve the problems? Should
“Brussels” regulate the details of the citizens’ daily life throughout Europe, or only what is absolutely necessary, yet certainly not what member countries can do themselves as well or even
better than "Brussels"?
Which future for Europe?
“Our New Europe” invites the citizens of all European countries to vote for one of the following scenarios:
1. EU reinforced or “Business as usual”: “Brussels”
continues to propagate its “future without alternative”, an ever more centralized, politically integrated, bigger European Union (finally the United States of Europe), to be implemented, as so
far, without EU-wide referenda, i.e. without letting the citizens have the final word.
2. EU reduced or “Back to free trade!”: EU
opponents, e.g. the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), want their country to withdraw from the EU - or not to join, if it is not yet a member - so that it can independently decide on its
laws, including on immigration, and sign free trade agreements with all countries in the world.
3. EU transformed or “Europe at variable geometry”: EU critics, sceptics but also sympathizers, e.g. the British Prime Minister Cameron, call for a flexible, subsidiary Europe, close to its citizens, so that each country can decide in a referendum to adhere either to a politically integrated core EU, or to the European common market or to a large free trade zone, open to all European countries between Reykjavik and Vladivostok.
The scenarios have a specific meaning for each European country. For Greece, e.g., scenario 1 means staying in the ever more centralized Euro zone; scenario 2, leaving the EU; and scenario 3 leaving the Euro but not the EU. For the Ukraine. however, scenario 1 would correspond with its EU membership; scenario 2, with its partnership with Russia; and scenario 3 with the Ukraine as a neutral bridge between East and West, practicing free trade with East and West.
Confidence in responsible, emancipated citizens
“Our New Europe” is a test for democracy throughout Europe. It aims at triggering a broad citizens' debate on the future of our continent, to which each country can contribute with its unique experience. This fundamental debate might initiate a bottom-up process, which could transform the citizens’ frustration into enthusiasm; overcome the EU's crisis and its democratic deficit; and lead to a more flexible and sustainable, democratic, prosperous and strong common Europe, a Europe of the citizens, with the citizens, by the citizens and for the citizens.
“Our New Europe” can only be successful, if the citizens in all 51 countries know about it, if they massively vote on www.our-new-europe.eu and if they use their networks to motivate their friends to participate as well, triggering thus an avalanche of participants (snowball effect). Europe’s future lies in the hands of its citizens!