The great European disaster is unfolding. We take no pleasure in seeing the nightmarish vision portrayed as fiction in The Great European Disaster Movie becoming fact.
The message of that film and of our Wake Up Europe campaign is, however, more important than ever: that we must wake up all European citizens to fight to defend the values that the European Union stands for – peace, openness, tolerance, equal human rights, solidarity.
Those values are in danger. For the European Union that was built in order to protect and epitomize them has turned, in the minds of millions of citizens, into not a solution but a problem, not a friend but an apparent enemy.
It is clear what needs to be done: the European Union needs to act, all its governments lined up together, to prove that it is a solution and not a problem, that it is a friend, not an enemy. What is not clear is how, given the upswelling of popular opposition.
We at Wake Up Europe call on all EU citizens to demand that their political leaders form urgent action plans to bring hope back to the people of Europe. We will convene a new larger series of Days of Awakening right across the EU to generate the awareness, the enthusiasm and the ideas that such actions will need.
Those action plans could take many forms, but the most powerful will be ones that are collaborative, that bring together the countries of Europe in our common European space.
Our proposals would include:
A new Marshall Plan - a “Merkel Plan” – of a €1 trillion public investment programme right across the EU, rebuilding roads, electricity grids, railways, broadband and other infrastructure. Austerity has failed, has left European governments debts larger than ever, and has left European unemployment debilitatingly high.
A new Mediterranean Plan - a far more ambitious collaborative effort to build secure common borders, restore faith in Schengen, and to help stabilize the situation for potential migrants from Libya and the refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, so as to defeat people-smugglers and discourage refugees from risking their lives.
A new European Educational Plan - one that takes the successful Erasmus programme of study abroad and multiplies it by ten, both in schools and universities, giving millions more young people the sense that Europe is their common cultural space.
These are top-down action plans. But they need to be demanded and argued for from the bottom up. They need to be supplemented and improved by the ideas and enthusiasm of millions of EU citizens.
They need to be the product of a Europe that truly Wakes Up to the dangers that are threatening it.
The Great European Disaster is avoidable and must be averted.
The Wake Up Foundation
June 24th 2016
From time to time we'll share exclusive interview clips (including never-seen-before footage), the most incisive blog posts and the most interesting dispatches from our event organisers as they take the europe debate to the furthest, biggest, smallest, weirdest, most unusual places around europe and beyond.