Europe and the primary election

Many of us citizens share the view that the European Union has gone from being in an impasse to being in paralysis and that the drifts of our democracies and the European Commission itself have only resulted to date in more political disaffection and euroscepticism. We are aware that a conservative Europe gives preference to economic over political union and that Southern countries suffer in their own flesh the effects of bailouts, either full or partial, and the impositions of a devastating austerity. These ideas have led us to Troika’s spectacular failures, while citizens, ever more puzzled, question the political legitimacy of not few of the decisions taken in Brussels, Frankfurt, Berlin or Washington, and which affect our everyday life.

I support that Europe should find inspiration again in its founding principles and welfare as the backbone to design the future and, logically, both European bureaucracy and conservatives see in this a threat to status quo. They sense that a new Europe may endanger the balances and stances that will lead, sooner rather than later, to a full State protectionism and seriously threaten the construction of a prosperous Europe with relevance at a world scale. Although the Great Recession has knocked down many progressive governments, the fact remains that today Europe is dominated by conservatives, while we socialists and progressive persons have not been able to convey new ideas and projects, and some conservative conceptual frameworks have been uncritically accepted. Therefore, European citizens choose to vote for the original and not the copy, as revealed by surveys published by several European media.

Faced with the dismantling of freedoms and rights, as well as social benefits, we socialists have raised a faint and unconvinced voice. Where are protests over the insufficient financial perspectives for 2014-2020? Where are consistent claims over the cutback in resources allocated to the social Europe or to research, development and innovation? How many massive actions have we seen in view of the ridiculous employment programme for European youth? How many protests over Troika’s failures? Rhetorical expressions do not suffice if unaccompanied by commitment, ideas, action and solidarity with citizens who see how the European dream is vanishing together with the middle class. The 21st-century Europe needs a new narrative, both inwards and outwards, because only thus can it find its own prominent place within globalisation, as well as a way out of the crisis. This is an issue that refers us today to stagnation and the activation of new and more painful crises.

In this framework, and in view of the coming European elections of May 2014, we Spanish socialists must make an effort and come to this contest with an extensive and clarifying debate, an organisation with renewed hopes and a clear future leadership, because Europe, as well as Spain, needs a renewed Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE). We can break down individualist isolation and generate a collective hope for citizen empowerment and the fostering of common projects, such as redefining Europe’s role in the world, progressing towards a more social and political Europe, and implementing new measures such as the incorporation to treaties and constitutions of a welfare-state bottom and measures to go more deeply into the social market economy. We can thus approach the unavoidable, urgent and major political decisions required by the European Union. Due to its importance, it is absolutely pressing that PSOE learns from itself and the mistakes of European socialist parties (PS, PSF, PASOK…). We cannot shy away from the debate opened with our rank-and-file members and citizens with a progressive ideology and it is more than reasonable to ask the Socialist direction for a primary election process before May 2014. Not only because our members are demanding it, but because Spain’s future depends on Europe’s future. We need a strong and renewed PSOE, with a new European narrative which must be the backbone of the project for Spain. We can picture several political scenarios but, as far as PSOE is concerned, all of them depend on a primary election process before European elections, in which we Socialists must contribute value and create a new European social democratic narrative.