Sant: to map out EU’s future, look back at the past

Labour MEPs on future of EU: Marlene Mizzi says citizens are disconnected from Europe

Alfred Sant
Alfred Sant

Two Labour MEPs have spoken of the European Union facing a challenging time, and called for a renewed relationship with citizens.

Marlene Mizzi, who addressed the plenary in Strasbourg on a report of future recommendations for the EU, said the Union had to reconnect with citizens by encouraging civic participation and enhancing people’s understanding of its history and diversity.

“Active citizenship, education and intercultural dialogue are paramount to the building of an open and inclusive society. The programme so far has been a success reaching more than seven million citizens in thousands of towns and cities around Europe promoting the European Union ideals and values,” Mizzi said.

 ‘The White Paper on the future of the European Union’ aims at identifying the challenges and the opportunities ahead and how it will conduct its future with 27 member states. It proposes five scenarios on how the Union could develop by 2025.

Marlene Mizzi
Marlene Mizzi

She said challenges to the Union included migration, radicalisation and social inclusion, and urged the Commission and member states to implement the reports recommendations of this report, to help citizens understand better the EU.

Former Prime Minister Alfred Sant also said that decisions on the future of Europe must be built on an honest and critical assessment of the recent past.

“Unfortunately, this terrain has been abandoned to populists and demagogues... Europe needs an acknowledgement and examination of the failures as well as the achievements of the European project over the last sixty years.

“It might make sense to open the discussion about the future of Europe with a discussion about its past, its history. Frequently I get the feeling, in this Parliament and elsewhere, that such discussions too often take exclusively an ideological perspective – that of pilgrims intent on reaching the new Jerusalem,” Sant said.

The MEP also said the EU tends to focus on technocratic approaches that are grounded in neoliberalism. “Even the social dimension when it is included, gets relegated to a policy chapter, calibrated in positivist terms. Perhaps what we need is a self-critical, historical review of what the European project has been, frame-worked in the realities of European history since the French Revolution.”

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