messages. What is certainly true is that the simple citizens who may not have enough interest and knowledge of certain areas would likely fall for the ones who provide them with the simplest solutions, whether these are true or false.
For the past years, the leaders of the Member States and the European Union officials themselves have been concerned with the common project and with the different interests of various Member States. While doing so, they did not seem to realise that the general public may not even know what they are doing behind closed doors and hence cannot fully comprehend what is beneficial and what is not. We need to find a bridge from our closed groups to other closed groups and try to cross the ever-widening social divides. We need to listen to the citizens of the European Union. We also need to convey the benefits that the common project brings to their everyday lives. While the Eurosceptic populists tell the simple messages every day, the public discourse is lacking the leaders who would provide simple explanation of the functioning of the EU. It is common that people do not know much about what is happening in Brussels and even if they do, their knowledge is based on the wrong interpretation with the aim of stirring up discontent with Brussels. There is a strong potential that any ideas of a more integrated Europe will be buried long before they even start if they are communicated quickly and without the proper democratic basis.
For this purpose, EU has to work with the individual Member States and not without them. The Commission can propose many great ideas for the right reason but it is the Member States and the respective citizens who have the main word. In order for the Member States to be more optimistic and supportive of such measures, the European Union needs to think about the lack of its democratic legitimacy in more detail. One of the ways to boost the democratic face of the EU is to open it up to the wide public, to all the EU citizens. Working with the Member States effectively and conveying the EU to the public can provide the EU with wider legitimacy and approval. The citizens would consider the elections to the European Parliament to be of same importance as their domestic parliamentary elections. The citizens would feel more concerned with the actions in Brussels and the election turnout would grow tremendously. With a large percentage of registered voters casting their vote in the elections to the European Parliament, its legitimacy would be strengthened. Lisbon gave the European Parliament wider powers and the EU should take advantage of this.
This would create EU that is responsive and re-created from the bottom up. All the largest political successes were started and supported by the wider public. When you are sincere and honest with the simple people, they will understand and support your intentions even if the positive results are not expected in the next 4-5 years, but rather show themselves later and firmer. The first step towards this result is simple communication and discussion with the wider public in the EU.
As a young generation, we are often labelled as naïve. We are often told that things will not change, however hard we try. Many people are discouraged by such statements and simply decide to make the best of what they have. However, it is our duty as the future leaders to have strong ideals and to believe in change. Whether you are from Germany or France, your life aspirations and desires are not different from the Romanians or Bulgarians. European Union is a strong concept and well worth keeping. Among other benefits, it allows young people to study in a different Member State through Erasmus, allows companies and individuals to trade freely across borders and opens up the potential of start-ups. However, we cannot forget the basic principles and values upon which the common project was build. The values of integration are the backbone for the peaceful lives we are living in the European Union. We need to reach out to all European citizens, from the biggest cities to the smallest villages, and define our common purpose.