Christine Bosse: Do we want to be democrats who safeguard freedom and respect – or the opposite? This is what the forthcoming elections are all about.

If only nationalists – who pay tribute to the rights of single nations – are elected to the European Parliament in May 2019, we will not be able to enforce the values of the European Union. The same applies if the European Council is represented by ministers with national interests only.

by Christine Bosse, President of the European Movement Denmark

What is the difference between the governance of China, Turkey, Russia and the European Union? To put it short it is about Article 2 in the treaty on the European Union (TEU): “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail”.

Perhaps we do not think about Article 2 in everyday life; however, we should do so very soon. In Denmark we live in freedom; for generations, our society and freedom have been envied simply because the vast majority of the world’s current population do not have this type of freedom. They do not even dare to dream of having it.

Imagine waking up in the morning and turning on a radio station that you know is 100 per cent operated by the government. Without alternatives free of the government. Or that you are homosexual and anxious about telling your loved ones about it. Or being at a dinner party and being insecure about telling what you think about the government in the country you live in. Not to mention not having access to rule of law; neither in relation to other citizens and businesses nor in relation to the state you were born in. You are subject to the personal needs of the rulers of your country.

Fortunately, it is not the case in our part of the world. Rule of law and separation of powers function as models for governance of a state and have shown to be the only way to avoid concentration of power to a few individuals. In addition, we have jointly developed a European Union where common rules provide us all with better protection; simply because the Second World War taught us Europeans that democratically elected national leaders can develop into totalitarian regimes.

When Orbán in Hungary and Kaczynski in Poland disregard Article 2, it also becomes a matter we should care about in Denmark. It is of our interest that our European Commission and the European Parliament react and impose economic sanctions to such countries. Member states must always meet the requirements of the EU of which we commonly share. The European Union is more than an economic union; it is a value-based union.

It is this common set of values that is the core theme of the European Parliament elections in May 2019; and the core theme of all national European elections these years.

Do we still want to enjoy our freedoms and legal protection in the EU and have our rights protected by the EU? Or should we allow member states of the EU to distance themselves from democracy and protection of liberties?  If the European Parliament is seated by nationalists, whose only focus is national interests, we will not be able to enforce Article 2. The same applies to the European Council if it is seated by ministers serving national interests only.

Scenarios like the ones outlined above could block the development of common European solutions. Solutions that many of the same parties criticize the EU for not providing.

The die has been cast. The nationalist parties are collaborating across Europe. Danish People’s Party uses every opportunity to praise people like Viktor Orbán and vote – as the only Danish MPs – against sanctions towards Hungary.

The forthcoming two elections in Denmark are more important than ever. These elections are about the very elements that our society is built upon: our freedom and sovereign access to influence the common European affairs.

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Read original version here (in Danish)