European elections are coming up this spring. An opportunity for voters all over Europe to make their voice heard.
I write from a Danish perspective. We are 5 million Danes seemingly doing quite well on the international stage. Right now our star player in Europe is Margrethe Vestager – commissioner for competition – attracting global attention and fame because she takes on big companies like Apple, Amazon, Siemens and Alstrom.
But we also need strong players in elections for the European Parliament. Therefore, it is extremely important that each country puts forward a strong list of candidates that manage to explain Europe in ways that inspire, engage and motivate.
Europe is present in everything we do. It is in politics, business, education and culture. The key challenge for candidates: how can they mobilize European drive, energy and optimism around good solutions to problems no country could ever solve alone.
Communication is one key to successful elections. We need candidates that can help voters understand the complexities of modern European and global life. Any political issue has a local, a national, a European and a global angle. We as voters need somebody to simplify so that we don’t give up and turn inward as a way of protecting ourselves from the world.
We also need a spring in election meetings that you want to attend as a voter. This means innovative ways of inviting and involving voters around issues that matter to them. Meeting organizers need the courage to try new ways to get voters to leave their screens.
We also need a media that moves away from nationalist agendas and makes Europe interesting and engaging for everybody. Programmes of any kind with European participants news programmes, education programmes, sports programmes, entertainment programmes. The media clearly has the potential to function as a game changer. But will they accept the challenge?
Finally, we need candidates that are social media wizards. Social media plays a key role in spreading news, messages and political views.
The potential for exciting European elections is clearly there. But if we stick to the old ways of doing things – we will get the same results: apathy, lack of engagement and a growing likelihood that Europe may fall apart. If we innovate and focus on European energy we may get the support we need.