Akava: The achievements of the EU must not be overshadowed by the wave of populism
Akava would like Europe to be strong, competent and competitive. Akava emphasises that the achievements of the EU should be stressed in Finnish and European discussion. In its document “Towards a new European Union”, Akava envisions the future of the EU and expresses a concern about collaboration in Europe.
“The document on the future of the EU is Akava’s contribution to the current discussion concerning the evolution and future of the European Union. Akava advocates for a strong Europe. We would like to see a competent and educated Europe with strong economic growth as well as mobility and a functional internal market. We want a Europe that invests heavily in science and research,” says Sture Fjäder, President of Akava.
Akava is concerned about the risk that the undeniable achievements of the EU are becoming overshadowed by external and internal pressures and the wave of populism. The EU has succeeded excellently in promoting peace. It has opened opportunities for citizens to move and seek jobs in other member states. From Finland alone, thousands of researchers and students take part annually in the exchange programmes offered by the EU.
The European single market has both advanced flexibility in exports and expanded selections available for consumers. Without EU membership, Finland would be weakly positioned in trade negotiations. The EU provides, along with the UN, a channel for influencing globalisation issues.
“The disintegration of the EU would deprive us of vital export possibilities, which would lead Finland to a grey zone and force us to cut our welfare services. A falling EU would only mean pseudo-independence for Finland. The stronger the EU, the more sovereign Finland is,” says Markus Penttinen, Head of International Affairs at Akava.
In Akava’s opinion, Finland should not remain at the edges of the EU, but rather, its place is at the core of the decision-making. A Nordic union is not a realistic option, but within the EU, Finland and the other Nordic states could serve as a unified model region for globalisation.
Akava’s document contains several proposals for developing the EU through practical measures. Such measures include, among others, EU budget restructuring, a tax union, a solid social dimension, new trade agreements and a more profound internal market. Moreover, the EU must invest in science and research as well as competence development. Globally, Europe must stand at the forefront of competence.
The European Commission has published its White Paper on the future of Europe, and the European Parliament has recently approved its own resolutions. On 25 March 2017, the leaders of EU member states will assemble in Rome to discuss the future of the EU. The discussion will continue thereafter and must necessarily involve the civic society as well.
Read Akava’s document on the future of the EU
Sture Fjäder, President of Akava, tel. +358 (0)400 609 717, Twitter: @SFjder
Markus Penttinen, Head of International Affairs at Akava, tel. +358 (0)40 772 8861, Twitter: @PenttinenMarkus