The June 9 vote is not about European elections. It is only a juxtaposition of national consultations, with a European pretext.

If we look at what is happening in each of the 27 countries of the European Union, we can make the following observation: the voters who go to the polls on June 9 will not be electing representatives to the European Parliament. Hardly any of them would be able to describe the European issues at stake in such an election, or to name the candidates on the various lists (apart from the person who represents them). Instead, they’re going to say what they think about the national issues of the moment, which most of the time have nothing to do with European issues. So, in general, they’ll be expressing their general political stance towards those in power and those in opposition. In many EU countries, and in France in particular, they will express their resentment against those who govern; all the more so as these elections will, in most cases, have no real impact on the composition of the government or the nature of the policy pursued. That’s why this is not a European election, nor even a national one, but just a juxtaposition of national consultations with no serious consequences; nor even European ones, for that matter: the European Parliament’s center of gravity will not be profoundly altered as a result.

This disaffection is easily explained: the European Union has not yet succeeded in becoming a true single market in politics, just as it has failed to do so in countless other areas: telecoms, banking, or energy. There are no European parties. As transnational groups cannot be formed in vital industrial fields, in Europe you can only vote for members of parliament from your own country.

So it’s understandable that many people aren’t interested. And if they do go to the polls, it’s only to express their solidarity with the party they feel closest to in their own country; and these elections will then be just another manifestation of a suicidal juxtaposition of anachronistic narcissisms.

A true European Parliament should be made up of representatives of parties present in all the countries of the Union, with cross-border lists, before as many candidates as seats in the Parliament, who would not represent a country but a current of thought. These deputies could continue to be elected on national lists, but not necessarily be citizens of that country themselves: in France, no one requires that a candidate in Brittany be Breton, or that a candidate in Corsica be Breton, even if it’s often better to be so.

As long as we haven’t done all we can to unify the markets for goods (which Enrico Letta’s new report so eloquently addresses) and ideas, as long as we don’t vote on complete European lists, for 705 candidates, for the whole Parliament, as long as there is no possibility of doing military or civic service in a country other than one’s own, as long as we know so little about the cultures of others, as long as we have not made common issues our own, we cannot really talk about European elections.

And yet there are countless issues we have in common:

They are military: what will we do if Putin invades Ukraine, or even if he sends troops into Moldavia or a Baltic state?

They are demographic: what will we do when the continent’s population declines and we can no longer afford to pay pensions?

They are economic: what are we going to do when our major companies have killed each other instead of joining forces against their non-European competitors?

They are ideological: what will we do when our history and our value system are denounced as barbaric by our former colonies, many of whom will have forgotten that they too, in the past, very often colonized or enslaved their neighbors?

Quand on aura réalisé que ce petit canton de l’univers a un destin commun ; que, séparées, les sociétés européennes déclineront et qu’elles ne pourront survivre qu’ensemble, alors, le meilleur sera devant nous.

Image : Reuters/ Vincent Kessler.