The world has been assisting at a crucial historical moment since when Cameron proclaimed the referendum for Brexit. Probably, few people believed the change was really going to happen. It is human nature: never recognizing risk until it becomes true and always perceiving threats as if they were far away.
Well, now it is real: U.K. exits EU. The future will bring a lot of uncertainty not only in the financial markets but also in European beliefs and values. Most people are pointing their finger towards English citizens who voted “leave” on June 23th. However, we should wonder: what did Europeans and European institutions do to prevent it? Maybe not enough.
Clearly, lots of mistakes have been committed. In particular, policies and measures to be taken were delayed or implemented late. Therefore, when crisis came up, EU did not promptly react. The situation worsened and people who suffered the most from it started growing distrust and hate towards the European Union. European government was unable to respond to people’s needs.
Citizens are the essential part of a country. European citizens usually claim that they do not feel represented by the European institutions. Yet, comparing the data about the European Parliament election of 2009 and 2014, they show that the turnout at the polls decreased in 2014. Moreover, in most countries the percentage did not reach the 50% of voters in the same year (e.g.: France 43,5%; U.K. 36%; Spain 46,3%; Germany 48,3%). (*) Therefore, European people are responsible as much as European institutions. The first for their indifference, the latter for the negligence.
The whole Europe should feel responsible for the detachment of U.K. It is time to stop blaming on others and start questioning ourselves on how we can do better. Great projects are difficult to manage; good purposes are hard to carry on. Quoting Epicurus: “No one chooses a thing seeing that it is evil; but being lured by it when it appears good in comparison to a greater evil, he is caught”.
However, there is no time to waste in sadness or anger. We can seek the opportunity out of such unrest. As Pliny the Elder wrote during the Ancient Roman Empire: “There is, to be sure, no evil without something good”. From Brexit, it turned out that young people, who will take the lead in the next future, stand for the European Union. In fact, YouGov survey shows that 75% aged 18-24 voted “remain”. The same did the 56% of people aged 29-49. This is the evidence that youth still trust European Union can improve and bring benefit to our countries. Hopefully, this is the spur for a change.
The European Union was created to protect fundamental values: human rights, freedom, democracy and equality. It was conceived to achieve great goals: peace, social and economic cooperation, stability, welfare, sustainable development, tolerance, justice, protection of cultural heritage and many more others. Relevant historical characters of our past, our citizens who fought in WWI and WWII, the founding fathers of the EU (including English Prime Minister Wiston Churchill), all of them would shiver in their coffins if they knew that all they fought for is now at risk to end up in dust and to be blown away.
Next step is not punishing U.K., neither watching Scotland, Northern Ireland and London split up from it. Next step should be promoting reforms and encouraging collaborative policy making among the EU countries. European citizens, students, youth and policy-makers are called to be active in order to demonstrate that working together as European Union is the best choice.
Let’s keep in mind that “difficulties increase the nearer we get to the goal” -Goethe.
(*) source: http://www.repubblica.it/static/speciale/2014/elezioni/europee/?refresh_ce