The battle for our future - Andrea Venzon
Today, March 29, 2017, the UK triggered article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which will mark the beginning of the formal Brexit negotiations. This day will be remembered as the day the UK separated its destiny from the one of Europe, and as the day the European Union lost a fundamental part of its identity. Today is a day of mourning.
However, March 29, 2017 will not be remembered as the day that doomed the European Project. Indeed, today a new hope for Europe is born: Volt. A progressive, pro-European movement which focuses on delivering real reforms both at national and supranational levels. Today is also a day of celebration.
Join the change, today.
The status quo
As a young Italian, I lived most of my life in a majestic, beautiful, and controversial nation. Despite being home to only 60 million people (0.8% of the world population) and constantly lashed by corruption and political instability, Italy shaped human history and culture disproportionally. For example, in spite of the country’s many flaws –disputable rule of law, inefficient bureaucracy-, the Italian performances in traditional (arts, automotive, food) and unconventional (manufacturing) fields have been outstanding. As a young Italian, I witnessed how our people can overcome any constraint, producing magnificent outcomes given mediocre – at best – economic and social conditions.
As a young European, born just one month before the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, our Union has represented the status quo for all of my life. As most of my peers, I take for granted the benefits derived from the existence of a strong supranational entity, ranging from the most fundamental benefits, such as a prolonged period of peace in the continent or the complete rebuttal of the death penalty, to the minor ones, such as passport-free travelling or the absence of tariffs when shopping for European goods. As a young European, I experienced freedoms that were unthinkable for my grandparents, and that are still unreachable in most regions of the world.
However, the unique prosperity that my country and Europe have produced for decades might be soon fading away. Since 2000, Italy has slipped from the 6th to the 12th position in the ranking of world economies. Experts forecast it will be in 21st place by 2050. Our ageing population entails that in less than 20 years 1/3 of the Italian population will be above 65, and therefore excluded from the labor force. Our public debt is enormous (4th in the world) and constantly growing. In the meanwhile, the European project is failing. As described in this post, the EU did not manage to cope with any of the major crisis that hit our continent in the last decade. In addition, one of the fastest growing, major economies of the Union is about to leave. Moreover, ever after the Brexit vote, all major European elections are anxiously followed by the world, as there is a fear the any of them could be the one that will destroy the European Union.
My country – as many others in the EU- is on the path of decline, and the EU’s very existence faces unprecedented threats.
In the face of a crisis, new ideas, new energies, and new perspectives are needed. To save the Member States and the European Union, we created Volt, a progressive, pro-European movement. Volt shall be represented in every Member State and in Brussels, to propose and lead a coherent program of reforms across national governments and in the European institutions.
Never before has a political movement planned to expand in each European country, aiming at developing a coherent strategy across the continent. Never before has a political movement put the concept of the State as a Servant of its citizens at its core. Never before has a political movement been created by young but skilled people that decided to risk everything, to follow their heart and to try to do the right thing.