What we want
European politicians want us to feel as European citizens, yet we are not allowed to have the tools we need to act as real citizens would. A democracy can only live if its citizens can play an active role in it, through elections as well as through civic action, petitions and a real public debate. We are Europe is committed to achieve exactly this: a true transnational democracy in Europe.
Did you know that if you want to set up a transnational European sports club or a transnational association fighting for climate change, you can’t do this under European law? Whenever citizens come together to fight for what they believe in, they have to do so under national law. That makes it incredibly hard to be effective on a European level, but it also means there are no common standards across Europe, leading to potential corruption, tax and liability issues and huge amounts of bureaucracy. All of which, if you think about it, is a fast and reliable way of silencing citizens, who want to stand up for their rights. Now the odd thing is that, if you wanted to start a European business, profiting from coordinated rules and procedures you could do so under European law. But once again Europe’s lawmakers seem to have forgotten who should be at the very centre of it: It’s us – the citizens of the Union.
If you want to learn more about the political debate on European associations that has been led for three decades, here is your document.
We feel it is high time this debate comes to an end, at last. This is why we launched, on February 12, 2019, the “Yes, we are a European association – YEA!” campaign in Aachen. In this campaign, we call on the European institutions to continue their efforts until the 10th European elections (2024) to create a European statute for associations. And if hundreds and thousands of associations throughout the whole EU support this demand, there is a resonable chance we will see this dream come true: Being united in a European association.
For more details, go to our campaign page and register: www.say-yea.eu.
Let’s get back to our young enthusiastic Europeans Giovanni, Maibrit, Catalin, Susanne and their friends all over Europe. Let’s hypothesise they want to set up a pan-European party legally acknowledged in the entire EU. You think this ought to be possible? We do too, but unfortunately, it’s not! In our example, Giovanni has to found his party in Italy, Maibrit hers in Denmark, Catalin his in Romania, Susanne hers in Germany and so on, i.e they are able to stand only in their respective countries. And only under extremely complicated conditions, and after years of electoral success, might they be allowed to join forces and acquire a Europe-wide legal status. Although even then, you could still only vote for the Italian party in Italy and the Danish one in Denmark. Is that still democratic? And is this really the way we expect people to discover their passion for our European project? Certainly not. And that’s why we want to change it.
We are Europe! demands the introduction of European Parties, founded by citizens and electable across the union
Every five years all 500 million of us go to vote the European Parliament (EP). Those elections, often termed as the European elections, aren’t actually that European when you think about it. Each country runs its own national election and in the end the results are added up. So again, as a resident of a country, you will only be able to vote in that country for whatever parties are running in your country. As such we continue to elect the best Italian, Dutch or French politicians to lead us rather than collectively choosing who we believe might be the best Europeans to lead us into our future. We want to change this and turn the EP elections into real European elections. After all, we do want them to be accountable to all 500 million of us.
We Are Europe! demands the introduction of transnational lists, which will allow citizens to vote their favourite party across national borders.
What we stand for:
A transnational european democracy
As citizens of the European Union we have our own legal European citizenship status within the legal structure underpinning the EU. But what does it actually mean to be a ‘union citizen’? In our view, it should mean that as citizens we have a right to have a real say on the EU’s future. If we don’t have a say and have ways of making our voices heard, through votes or civic actions, many of us might lose our trust in European politics. We don’t want to let it come to that. We simply request the same rights we have based on our national citizenships to also hold true for our European citizenship.
We are Europe! is a group of EU citizens working together for a transnational democracy in Europe. The vision of our group is to support the nice words of European citizenship with actual rights that will allow citizens across Europe to assume full democratic responsibility of the European Union, without being stopped short at national borders. Our mission is to fight for a European and therefore transnational democratic space, where Europeans can exercise their democratic and social rights irrespective of their national rules.
So why does it matter so much whether citizens organise nationally or transnationally across Europe?
Most of the topics we care about today are topics that need to be handled at EU level to be effective. Whether that is security, energy policy, migration, climate change, or even social policy. Even for topics where the EU currently lacks the competences to directly affect change, much of how we organise our national countries is based on compromises reached at EU level. We don’t want to change this, but we do want to give citizens a right to organise and be heard at that same level where policy is decided: the EU level.
Right now, it’s impossible for citizens to come together across Europe and found an association to fight for whatever one believes is worth fighting for. Our civil society is split by national borders, even though we don’t need a passport to cross those borders anymore, we actually lack some of the most fundamental citizens’ rights when crossing them. We are Europe! wants to change this! We believe that as citizens we will only be heard in Europe when we join together and organise transnational cicic action.