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National politicians vs European ones...
by Christos Mouzeviris
2011-09-01 07:42:26
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I was wondering how can we increase the interest among the European population for their MEPs and the EuroParliament. Right now as things stand, Europeans turn to their national or local politicians for their problems and they see the EP as something distant. And who can blame them? They rarely see them, or their work, what they are discussing in the EP, what they do and how they represent them!

Can Europeans know or trust who they vote for in every EP elections since they do not see what they do, regularly in their national television or they do not appear in any TV program, news and chat shows? The EP politicians are not as accessible as the national or local politicians. National politicians can be met in our streets, they can accept visits in their offices. They have traditional relations with the local population, while EP politicians are based and working in Brussels and their voters usually vote for them because of their political party alliance, while they come in contact with them only through their electoral campaign, once every five years ; what about after that?

A favorite or popular journalist for example has more chances to be supported and trusted in his work for the national Parliament. Why? Because people can read his views or opinions through his work over the years, they get to know him/her and they inevitably trust him. They consider him/her as their voice to the Parliament. Contrary to that, when our main political parties chose to nominate someone to represent them in the EP, they usually chose someone not as known or popular. They use the top and well known politicians for their seats in the national Government.

Perhaps it is time that the EP politicians or other EU officials to show their work and faces more often to their voters and the public. Interviews on national media, participation in debates in political chat shows, live showing of a plenary session of the EP, perhaps even touring or visiting institutions in each state. There are already many links or sites on Facebook or Twitter that you can contact some of them. But how many of you even know who your elected MEP is? I have searched and found some of them, and I have to say they are more keen in replying to your queries than your Government politicians. But have or would you?

I think the EP politicians should become as accessible as the national elected representatives of each country. And for sure we need to send people in the EP that will inspire the public to follow them. We need to start building the same trusting relationship that exists (or at least existed before the crisis) between the public and those who they chose to represent them in their national Government. If we want a fully functional and democratic EP and EU, we need the support, interest and involvement of the civilians. How can we achieve this when the public have no faces to connect with the laws that come out of the EP?

The new generation is far more knowledgeable and involved, simply because they use the internet more and can access or contact MEPs through that. And that is very heartening. But how about the older generations? We need changes as soon as possible in Europe, and as long as we leave the over 40's generations still apathetic to the EU politics and institutions, it will take a long time to see real reforms in Europe. Is it time for the MEPs to get out of the EP and reach for the voters more often?

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