going Dauwin

After 15 years in Asia, I came back to Germany in summer 2013 and since then, I wonder what had happened to this great project of the European Union. The Union is in crisis. Dept crisis, Euro crisis, austerity policies, hunger and homelessness, unemployment and misery. Some countries are doing better than others, but this cannot be an excuse. 

Doe’s this Union still exist? What is the meaning of this Union? What happened to the values promoted by our politicians. Peace, freedom, prosperity for all, democracy, rule of law, human rights? All I see today is division, hatred and fear. Nationalism and xenophobia and homophobia are on the rise.

I feel cheated, I feel betrayed.  My dream was stolen. The ideals which had been promoted for so many years, where are they now?

Every day in the media I read and hear about numbers, about economy, about growth, about stock markets. I hear very little about the human beings of the Union. It’s all about numbers, all about economy.

They are telling me that things are getting better, that the crisis is almost finished.

This is a lie!
More than 26 mio unemployed in the EU.
In Greece and Spain, unemployment among the youth (below 25 years) is over 50%. 
The health system in Greece is in deep trouble. 
The crisis might be finished for the financial sector. For us, the citizens, it is far from being over!

The real crisis has just begun. It is a crisis of democracy. Our fundamental rights are eroded more and more, our common values are betrayed day by day. The Union is on the path to become a totalitarian system. It is not the Union of European peoples but of international corporates and corrupt politicians. Well, corrupt sounds bad. Corruption only exists in other countries. Here we call it lobbyism. Sounds much better, but where is the difference? Around 20.000 (twenty thousand !) lobbyists are active in Brussels alone, 70% of them working for corporates and business associations. Through privileged access to the commission and by directly influencing the parliamentarians they are shaping the laws to suit the interests of their clients. Lobbyism in Brussels and the European capitals poses the biggest threat to our democracy.

My own government is lying to me. The ruling political parties refuse to defend the fundamental rights which are guaranteed in our constitution.
I am tired of mass surveillance, I am tired of constantly being tracked by government agencies. I am tired being treated as a potential terrorist.

I am tired of political leaders telling me that democracy has to be market-compliant (chancellor Angela Merkel, 2011). I do not want to be ruled by the markets. 

I am tired of a political caste preaching water and drinking whine. 

I wonder, whether there is any common spirit among the European citizens.

What is the bracket holding us together? Is there more than energy saving light balls?

I am committed to the idea of a European Union. A Union by the people. A Union for the people. A Union in the hearts and minds of the European peoples.

Am I alone? That is what I want to find out. For two month I’ll be travelling through several countries in the EU. From Hamburg/Germany to Lisbon/ Portugal and back. Visiting the places of European institutions, talking to the people, finding out what the European Union means to them.

I invite all of you to participate in this quest. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Share your thoughts. Let us come together, let us create our Union, let us go forward together. 

© Kurt Ritter 2014