The EU – Europe’s knight in shining armour or downfall?

These days, many of the national laws are triumphed by the decisions made by the European Union. Yet there is a record low turnout for the EU-elections with only 51% of Swedes voting in 2014. Having these numbers in mind, it is clear that the Swedes relationship to the EU is not all problem-free. With…

Deme Tolgac Avatar

These days, many of the national laws are triumphed by the decisions made by the European Union. Yet there is a record low turnout for the EU-elections with only 51% of Swedes voting in 2014. Having these numbers in mind, it is clear that the Swedes relationship to the EU is not all problem-free. With strong winds blowing towards Euro-scepticism, the Swedes seem to want to go the opposite direction. In a recent poll from Sifo, it is concluded that more people are EU-positive than ever before. With Brexit still covering the headlines of most of our newspapers, it is clear that we are becoming more aware of the quintessential influence the EU has on our everyday lives. Does this then entail that the historical low poll turnout might be taking a turn for the better?

It is hard not to sense that election times are approaching. No matter if you pass by the city center and observe the many posters having been put up by our political parties, or scroll through your Facebook feed to notice the horde of articles been written about the election. Yet last time, only about 42 percent of all eligible voters in Europe voted, which was the lowest number detected since the first election in 1979. This is a worrying number considering the amount of influence the EU has on our everyday lives. Around 60 to 70 percent of the decisions being made in the Swedish parliament today have their origin in the EU, as well as decisions made regionally and locally. Still, the perception of EU as a bureaucratic nest remains, where citizens continuously feel a lack of insight in the decision processes. This perception has resulted in a narrow debate climate, where one either is pro or against bureaucracy, and accordingly, pro or against a membership within the union. In the midst of this analysis, the original aim of the EU is often overshadowed. The consolidation of the EU was a crucial part of building up the lost bond between many of our European nations after World War 2. What seemed as an impossible task was made possible, a lot thanks to the European Union. Amongst many objectives, the EU was founded upon the strive towards free-trade, democracy and freedom. These are points Euro-sceptists mean has been let down over the years, and that Brussels has more power to control then the nations themselves. Accordingly, the party leader of the Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Åkesson claimed that the EU no longer is the project we voted to join in on in 1995. Anyhow, no matter if one is pro or against the European Union, this is our chance to raise our voices upon how we want our future to look like. Do we want our country to approach the European Union even further or a country that distances itself from the union? All of us have different perceptions, but in accordance to the polls, it seems as though the election result will land somewhere in between. Swedes are more pro-EU now than ever, but are at the same time not willing to let Brussels decide upon questions that are dealt with best with on a national level. Collaboration might be key, but the line of collaboration becoming bureaucracy is one that could become a serious threat to our democracy. It is of crucial value to assure that the citizens of Europe have trust for the EU and its institutions. If not, Brexit could become one in a long line of countries wanting to leave. With the United Kingdom leaving, the European Union is suffering a major economic loss and could come to raise the membership fee to make up for the exit of EUs second largest economy. In other words, a new challenge for the European Union of either raising the membership fee to make up for the hole in the budget or cut down on the budget has arisen. Questions such as these might make this EU election the most important one yet. Yes, this is indeed a well known phenomenon that we hear frequently  every election, but think about it. Never had we has such an uproar regarding a country wanting to leave. And why? Because this decision has, and will come to affect other citizens in Europe. So even though the polls might be an important pointer to what direction we are heading towards, it all comes down to us to make the final decision and triumphing the election results of 2014. Because how can we claim that the European Union is representing all of us if only 42 percent of the eligible citizens in Europe and 51 percent of Swedes voted? Now, the time has come to write the next chapter of European history. One where we demand a say in Europe.

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Founded in 1948 and has since been an important part of student life in the economics program at Lund University. Nådiga Lundtan covers a wide range of topics related to economics, society, and politics, as well as careers, entrepreneurship, and innovation. It is a platform for students to share their ideas and opinions on economics and related fields.

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