Call for a European Public Holiday! Let’s foster a European Civil Society!
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We need a European Day – a public holiday in all EU member states, on the last Monday in May, starting in 2018.
During the European Day, and over the preceding weekend, public transport across the Union is free, and various public institutions hold open days. Europe-themed intercultural and political activities (street parties, debates, readings, games, exhibitions, concerts, plays, film screenings) take place throughout member states, encouraging citizens to explore and reflect on what it means to be European.
Such a yearly event is long overdue and should not be compared to Europe Day. Strangely, this is held on two days, May 5th and 9th, to hail different institutional landmarks of EU development. But neither is an official holiday, though both are considered a “symbol” of the Union, alongside the flag, the anthem, the motto and the euro. Few citizens know about the dates and they tend to pass unnoticed. What a wasted opportunity!
Establishing a European Day across all member states would create a symbol that no one can overlook and everyone has the chance to fill with meaning. The holiday will remind us all – but especially those in Brussels – that democracy has to work at many levels and that the participation of citizens is the most vital of these.
We have to demand this holiday because Brussels has not so far had the imagination or the sense to grant it.
Objections will doubtless be raised:
It’s unaffordable! Really? Can’t an organization that spends billions on bailing out banks open its coffers to invest in its own citizenry?
It’s bribery! For decades, the union has incentivized business and industry through all manner of subsidies and special provisions, why shouldn’t it offer a sweetener to its people?
It’s bad for the economy! Politics has for too long been driven by what’s “good for the economy” on the assumption that this will automatically, eventually, translate into good(s) for all. A European Day would signal a bold shift away from the neo-liberal paradigm that privileges the “needs” of the market over the needs of individuals and of democracy.
A European Day, with its associated moving, mixing and meeting of people, will begin to create something the Union has spectacularly failed to do so far – a European civil society. For the EU to be more than a market place it must have a thriving demos - a politically informed and engaged body of citizens. This requires time and space in which to develop. A European Day is the first step.
Join the demand for a European Day and help jolt new life and meaning into the EU!
Read about the DEMOS plan for a European Public Holiday and more here: http://www.literaturhauseuropa.eu/de/observatorium/blog/the-fight-for-europe-state-of-exception-reloaded
Or here in German: http://www.taz.de/!5373582/
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