Tuesday

22nd Jan 2019

EU scepticism threatens European integration

Euroscepticism and the lack of citizens' trust, interest and involvement in Europe is perhaps the most serious threat to European integration cooperation today, according to the World Economic Forum.

At the World Economic Forum Summits in Salzburg, Austria, 1-3 July 2001 and at the Annual Meetings in Davos a new initiative, Bridging Europe, will be launched in an attempt to bridge the gaps between citizens and the political establishment in Europe by dialogue. The initiative consists of four elements:

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Voice of Europe: Survey polls of values and motives behind Euro-scepticism and democratic deficit. Qualitative analysis and extensive dialogue with up to 500 selected citizens on a People's Panel.

Next Generation Europe: Building of a web-community of up to 1000 European youths. Dialogue and polling of the voters and the consumers of the future.

Dialogue Lab: Ongoing development of innovative and interactive methods and tools for democratic dialogue.

Regular Progress Reviews: Voice of Europe Newsletter, papers for summit events, final report.

The aim of the initiative is to promote democratic sustainability on the European continent. It will help develop the democratic dimension in Europe and counter euroscepticism through more qualified dialogue between major stakeholders such as European citizens, businesses, political institutions, NGOs, media, and academia. A special effort will be made to communicate with young Europeans.

Benefits for business

By taking part in Bridging Europe, business can obtain at least six benefits, the World Economic Forum states in a presentation of the initiative. First of all, business has a long-term interest in creating a stable business environment in Europe. Such an environment depends on a strong and vibrant political system, which can ensure European social and economic cohesion, open and develop new markets, and eliminate barriers on existing markets.

EU scepticism described as sickness, which can be cured by dialogue

EU sceptical MEP Jens-Peter Bonde said, according to CNN, that the presentation of the project was very professional, but unfortunately it had described EU-scepticism as a sickness to which the only cure was dialogue.

“A good project is killed from the start if it is regarded as sickness to be sceptical towards the EU,” he told the CNN. He also demanded that a minimum of half the participants in the project should be so-called “sick” EU-critics, if the project should create any real dialogue and understanding.

The project is initiated in co-operation with House of Mandag Morgen, a leading Danish knowledge company, which organised a similar project in Denmark prior to the Danish euro referendum in September last year.

Erik Rasmussen, CEO and Chief Editor of the House of Mandag Morgen regretted the formulation of EU scepticism as a "sickness" and deleted it from the presentation last night.

Salzburg protests turn violent

Hundreds of anti-globalisation protestors clashed in Salzburg on Sunday, where 15 heads of state and government were gathering for the World Economic Forum's sixth annual European economic summit, reports the Independent. However, tight security measures kept the protests under control compared to last month's riots in Göteborg.

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