My Europe: federal, social, sustainable

Arturo Bjørklund Winters

European cultures have been tied to each other for so long that one could talk of one European culture. The great minds of our continent always inspired each other and enriched our worldview. For instance, Newton’s revelations were based on Galilei’s and Kepler’s discoveries and those discoveries had been built upon Tycho Brahe’s observations. Also, the classical as well as the romantic period are examples of cultural movements that seized all of Europe. Even the rise of nationalism at the end of the 19th century was an European phenomenon.

In this spirit I perceive the European Union as a nation and my native “country”. I believe that Europe demonstrates that mutual consent can be reached by underlining the similarities and leading a democratic dialog instead of settling those questions by “iron and blood”.

My vision is a federal European Union based on equitable distribution and growth. I consider the following structural reforms necessary to reach this ambitious goal:

  1. Due to the opposition of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, transnational party lists have been rejected. But this resistance should not deter us from pursuing this fundamental project. Europe’s Social Democratic Parties could and should draw up a transnational lists at the European election.
  2. The principle of having a leading candidate should not be questioned. First and foremost, this includes the decision-making power of the Parliament regarding the appointment of the President of the Commission.
  3. A significantly strengthened European Parliament: To further initiate legislative procedure, the power of initiative for ordinary legislative procedure has to be granted to the only directly elected political body of the EU.

In addition, the reform of the EU’s economic policies is of utmost importance. There is a pressing demand for a single EU economic government so that every European region can profit from the advantages of the EU’s economic and monetary union. The realization of this endeavor depends from the following:

  1. The introduction of a EU finance ministry whose budget is not financed by the payments of EU member states but by an European tax. This ministry must be under the control of the European Parliament.
  2. The development of measures to fight capital flight and tax dumping. To reach this aim one should set a minimum corporate tax rate, inheritance tax and tax on capital gains.
  3. A considerable strengthening of social policy of the EU by introducing an European minimum wage.

One of the EU’s biggest challenges is the steering of the 4th Industrial Revolution, i.e. the digitalization, the automation and the Energiewende. Through my degree program I have a technical understanding of the energy world. I would like to contribute my subject-specific knowledge in order to substantiate an actual energy transition in Europe. To me this means:

  1. The attempt for the EU to agree on a minimum CO2 tax with as many OECD-countries as possible.
  2. The reduction of Europe’s dependence on coal combustion.

We 500 million EU citizens are not only responsible for about 20 % of the world’s energy consumption, but also constitute the largest economic power in the world. The EU is an unprecedented project of international understanding that has achieved great things. The failure or success of the European project as a democratic unification of a continent will change world history. It is time for the EU to stand up to its autocratic and populist tendencies within and beyond its own borders and unleash its potential. My motivation is to develop a new, courageous vision for a future Europe.