Statement EES President Dr Ingo Friedrich
December 17, 2015
The strengthening of populist parties in almost all countries of the European Union requires a convincing answer of the serious political powers, in order to avert damage from citizens. The central elements of such an answer are:
1. It must be unmistakably pointed out what kind of disruptions were caused by right- and left-wing populist politics in South America (especially Argentina and Venezuela) and Greece. If we allow that in Europe - like in South America - political prudence only has a chance again once the populist powers are debunked by the taking on of governmental responsibility, it could carry a high price. This dangerous “volte” of a practical test of populist governments should be prevented by all means in Europe.
2. Serious politics have to tackle the currents challenges and problems courageously and swiftly. The populations knows that not all problems can be solved on the spot and forever, but politics have to explain what kind of plan they have and which solutions they are striving for. They have to also make clear which negative consequences every decision, even if made in all conscience, carries. Political decisions that only have positive effects no longer exist in the 21st century. This holds true for the refugee crisis, but also the other lingering crises, from Greece to Ukraine, from fighting terrorism all the way to the financial crisis.
3. The media should cease their most often politically left educational efforts. A lot of citizens are fed up with that and it has an almost counterproductive effect along the lines of: If so many opinion forming journalists are politically left, I at least have to contribute to a fair “right counterbalance”.
4. In the European Union proud nations can and should represent their interests boldly but not egotistically. They should always remember that a failure of the European unification project would harm the interests of all European nations, or rather: The long-term success of the European countries is only secured if the European unification remains a success. Just as much as every citizen nowadays can no longer secure his or her livelihood, in the age of globalisation every nation needs the interaction with its neighbour. Without joint presence of all Europeans other super powers would dictate the course of history with unpredictable consequences for us Europeans.
5. Europe itself hast to act with more dedication and courage, even if it “hurts” in one place or another. The external borders have to be effectively controlled even if national reservations regarding sovereignty are voiced, and EU committees must not wave through all ideals of a just and cleanly regulated society. This is the only way the image of the steadily growing EU bureaucracy can be rebutted.