US election: Europe’s role in the world to increase

9 Nov 2016

As Donald Trump wins the US presidential elections, the importance of the EU and its Member States as strongholds for democracy, tolerance and human rights increases. They must now show and prove that they can overcome national egoisms and are able to tackle jointly global problems. A commentary by CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger.

US election: Europe’s role in the world to increase

Yes, the gap between the EU and the citizens must be closed to secure the future of the European project, but, let’s be honest, if the EU wants to provide solutions for the big issues, the renationalisation of policies cannot be the answer. The growing interconnections of national economic, financial, social and security policies require a strong signal towards greater integration within Europe and improved international cooperation.

Empowering the EU to “deliver results” in such areas as migration, security, defense, external relations and taxations require further shifts of national sovereignty in, admittedly, very sensitive areas.

As a trade unionist it is easy to say that solidarity is at the heart of the European social model, but this solidarity cannot only be invoked among workers and between workers and those excluded from the labour market – it must also be invoked between Member States in all kind of policy fields.

Yet as we know, we call for ‘more Europe’ when we think we can impose our way of thinking upon the continent. And we denounce this Europe as undemocratic and intrusive when someone else’s vision is to be imposed upon us.

What we have to learn again is to accept compromises – not only to see them as evils destined to undermine our democracies, but also as necessary steps when serving higher interests.

This higher interest is a more united European continent, a continent where the unconditional respect of democracy, the rule of law and the respect for fundamental rights and liberties are inalienable guiding principles.

After the US Presidential elections, it is fundamental that the EU stands for these values around the world more fiercely than ever before. That is, in the end, what will keep Europe strong.

Picture: Donald Trump © 2016