Friday, May 15, 2009

Disinterest in « Europe »

In the May 7th issue of The Economist: persuading Europeans to vote in the June election is a losing proposition writes "Charlemagne":

“Average turnout has fallen in every election, from 63% in 1979 to 46% in 2004, even though the parliament’s importance has grown. (…) Yet a recent Eurobarometer poll found that just 34% are likely to vote this time (and previous such polls have overestimated turnout).”

The reason? According to the London based weekly,the Parliament does not work properly, can be intolerant to dissent, and lacks legitimacy.

Let us add three additional causes: in 1979 the Soviet Union was still there and also a real military menace. Closer cooperation between western European nations seemed useful indeed, much more than today. Since that date, the general and new trend of organizations, worldwide, whether private or public, has been towards downsizing large hierarchies, firms as well as states. Trying to build a continental size NGO appears more and more as an obsolete enterprise.Would anyone dare to dream of making a federal state out of the United Nations? And third, voters especially in France and Ireland, have been taught by experience that European authorities do not consider a “NO” for an acceptable answer. In that case why bother to vote?

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