Europe is fucked
The importance of the upcoming European Parliament elections from 23 – 26 May 2019 can’t be overstated. Brexit has turned everybody off the conversation about Europe, and caused years of policy paralysis. We should have been making things better for Europe’s citizens, but our unelected EU ‘leaders’ have shown poor leadership abilities, while the fascists have risen on Europe’s right flank. Time for action, and fast. Here are 5 quick wins for Europe, to make the EU relevant, inspiring and useful…
Let’s make the EU more democratic
The names Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk have never appeared on a ballot paper, yet they seem to be running the EU. Why? What is the point of the European Parliament? Why should we bother to vote in May? The EU needs to answer these questions, and urgently. And don’t say ‘The information is there if you look for it.’ It’s up to the EU to communicate to its citizens why it works as it does, how it’s changing to reflect the views of the populace, and what a more democratic European Union will look like.
Let’s build the European Union of Hemp
The United States is leading the way, with the recent legalisation of industrial hemp, added to many states’ embrace of the medicinal and recreational potential of hemp’s sister, cannabis. This is very positive and very welcome. Europe needs to look to America to appreciate the potential of hemp for reducing climate change, for displacing multiple harmful products, for medical treatments and for a safer alternative to alcohol. By legalizing hemp and cannabis at federal EU level, individual member states can develop policies under the protection of the EU.
Let’s make Europe lead the fight against climate change
Hemp is one powerful tool that Europe can deploy to stop climate change. Let’s go further with some big EU ideas. We must tackle livestock subsidies, and stop funding animal production of greenhouse gases. We must ensure that our fisheries become sustainable sources of protein for Europe. We should set a date for banning diesel cars in the EU, embrace and develop the next generation of electric/hydrogen vehicles. We need to ensure commercial aviation cuts its emissions, while expanding fast rail and other less harmful ways to travel within Europe. A rail tunnel from Ireland to France would be awesome. Why can’t we dream big and inspire the next generation?
Let’s ban monarchies, make Europe abide by the ideals of equality and liberty
One good thing about the UK’s departure from the EU is that the EU will then have one less monarchy. It’s pretty disgusting to realise that there will still be six: Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. Europe needs to enforce liberal, republican ideals both at high level and at individual member state level. There is no place for monarchies in 21st century Europe. Let’s work to abolish all monarchies within the European Union.
Let’s tell the European story better
Let’s face it, Europe rocks! The European Union has prevented World War 3 by fostering cooperation and fraternity among nations and peoples. We have incredible art and culture, fabulous cities, incredible food and drink, and the jewel of the Mediterranean and all that it has inspired, from Greek democracy to the artists of Spain. We have skiing in the Alps and a surfer’s paradise on the west coast of Ireland. We have Airbus and BMW, Stripe and Mytaxi, GDPR and the Eurovision. The world’s happiest country – Finland – is part of the EU, so why can’t we learn from them and use their strategies across the European Union?
We can and should build a fabulous future for the people of Europe and the world. Europe has been a shining beacon – reflecting what is best about humanity – at many times in her past. We can and must aspire to again being that beacon. We must get past Brexit quickly, so we can again be proud of what we have achieved. And we should make it clear to everyone that the best is yet to come.
Get out and vote in the European Parliament election, May 2019. Cast your vote for the parties that will work to deliver on these ideals.
Image credits/learn more
Flag of the EU, altered for this article under artistic license: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_Europe.svg
Interestingly, the 12-starred flag has never been officially adopted as the flag of the EU. Rather, it was kind of inherited from the EC. The flag also represents the quite separate Council of Europe, which has 47 member states including Russia and Turkey. Go figure.
Read more about the 2019 EU Parliament elections on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_European_Parliament_election
World’s happiest countries, 2019 (CNN report on UN findings): https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/worlds-happiest-countries-united-nations-2019/index.html
Get your European Union of Hemp t-shirt here. Every sale means a hemp plant grown and CO2 removed from the atmosphere.