“The European Union is not only a great idea, but it’s also an idea we must keep working on.”
– Sebastian Kurz, Chancellor of Austria
Europe, from being one of the largest contributor to the world GDP with 16% share and being hub for manufacturing of principles of International law, is a an entity that stands out in the present day worAld order. Europe, a continent raised to a mammoth political and economic status by virtue of the formation of European Union shares an interesting ‘Romantic Relationship’ with its member states. The EU is an amalgamation of economic and political union between the 27 countries in Europe, except the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. However, this discussion is not about the EU. Rather it is about a new system or a new political movement slowly engulfing the minds of the Europeans, known as “Volt Europa”. To add more to the knowledge and clear the air, the term “d’une nouvelle Europe” essentially means “a new Europe”. Therefore, this article’s prime focus would revolve around the new concept like that of Volt Europa, its plans and programmes coupled with the possibility of existence of such political movement in Asia.
The concept of Volt Europa was pretty confusing at first. However, this pan- European political movement is gaining momentum around the continent because of its policies and the ideas it is projecting. Volt Europa sees itself as a political party without any borders, i.e. it believes in the formation of one party for the entire Europe, be at the national level or be it in the European Parliament. They are of the belief system that the European problems as a whole require a European solution as the national political parties at the various European countries are reaching their limits and they are putting the peace of Europe at stake. However, one must understand that the structure of Volt Europa won’t make one Head of State for two different European countries. However, it believes in a top-to-bottom approach. There would be a presence of one pan-European party across Europe (Volt Europa) and under the umbrella of this party would be the members of Volt Europa specifically for a country. Furthermore, they have a set vision of having a ‘European’ Prime Minister who would be accountable to all the elected representatives. And if they have a European Prime Minister, then they ought to tackle the problems of Europe in a singular fashion, i.e. a European government for the Europeans as a whole. In fact, Volt Europa has already stepped into the shoes of success as it has Damian Boeselager was elected as the first Volt member to the European Parliament. As of now, Volt Europa has participated in various local level elections and in fact have around 50 of its members in the elected government machinery.
Now as mentioned earlier, Volt Europa has a broad set of policies and changes they wish to implement to the whole of Europe. The interesting point here is that all the challenges and the vision Volt Europa has planned on combatting are in fact the common problems of the entire Europe. Hence, Volt Europa has introduced the ‘5+1 challenges’. The 5 Challenges are basically the same for every country, but their implementation can be adapted on the national level to take into account local realities. The +1 Challenge – our proposal to reform and strengthen the EU – is identical across all our national programmes.
The 5+1 challenges are as follows:
- Smart State: This head covers the digitalisation of the public services systems coupled with the change in the education system(s), law enforcement mechanisms, et cetera for the residents of Europe.
- Economic Renaissance: This talks of how the economic progress could be the guiding light for the progress of the European society by introducing an array of measures in the economic sector.
- Social Equality: As the name suggests, Volt Europa intends on ending all and every kind of social evils and making Europe a safe place for everyone,
- Global Balance: Under this policy, Volt Europa has basically enumerated about the two important factors at the global level. First, the sustainable development and second, the area of migration and refugees.
- Citizen Empowerment: The Volt Europa under this head intends on educating the citizens of Europe to be active in the political sphere by taking politically informed decisions, by understanding the rights with them and exercise their rights to make it a vibrant democracy.
+1 challenge: EU Reformation. Here the Volt Europa has played tactfully. It has projected itself as one of the biggest supporter of the European Union but not a blind supporter. It has highlighted certain changes in the EU to make so that it leads to “more open, more democratic and more united Europe”.
When you look to the challenges highlighted by Volt Europa, one might notice that these are some pressing issues, not just for Europe, but for the entire world. However, when we talk about Europe and the way it deals with such problems, we might find certain disparities in the policies amongst the nations. Hence, in order to provide for a uniform, transparent and flexible structure, Volt Europa has drafted these 5+1 challenges and how they aim at implementing them.
Now, talking about the possibility of the existence of such a structure in Asia. It is my opinion that Asia can have a structure like this, but that would be a far- fetched cry. The reason for this I believe is because of the diversity and the presence of various ideologies in the Asian continent. I’m certainly not denying the fact that the European countries do not have diversities within themselves. However, Asia is too big to accommodate such changes with the country- specific problems that are not at all common, except a few. Asia has already the means of treaties has engaged with the West on several occasions But at the same time, it has focused on the development of its own by introducing committees like SAARC, ASEAN. Though Asian countries have faced their own history and tussles, the possibility of the existence of a party like Volt Europa cannot be rejected completely.
Taking inspiration from Pan Europa, a relatively similar party has emerged, the DiEM 25 Party with its own set of agendas and policies for the unified and better Europe.
To conclude with, in my opinion the initiative launched by Volt Europa is at the nascent stage. But one must not forget that before labelling the party as naïve or nascent, a look at their success rate in various local body elections and the policy mapping could definitely change one’s perspective. Hence I leave my readers with a question. Could a unified Europe under a party like Volt Europa and DiEM 25 promise a better future or the existing system could be the best in long run?
– By Abeer Tiwari