JEF Europe relieved of the results in Austria but concerned about what it means for the future of Europe
The Young European Federalists (JEF-Europe) welcome with relief the final result of the Presidential Election in Austria, which saw Alexander Van der Bellen being elected President of the Republic of Austria, winning in the second round against Norbert Hofer.
Mr. Hofer, who won the first round, and the party he represents, the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), clearly advocate for eurosceptic and xenophobic ideas and gained huge consensus with their project of tightening border controls and limiting the access of migrants and asylum seekers to the country.
The 49,7% of votes received by Hofer and FPÖ represent without any doubt that a considerable part of the people in Austria are embracing nationalistic values in these difficult times for the European Union and the European citizens. The main concern is that this phenomenon can also be found elsewhere in Europe, as it is often showed by polls that underline how nationalistic parties are gaining huge consensus on the whole continent.
JEF-Europe thinks that this is alarming and believes that this popular call should not be undervalued. An increasing number of citizens feel that democratic parties and governments are not able anymore to provide solutions to current challenges. JEF Europe believes that these concerns should not be ignored but we are convinced that the solution to the crises that are currently hitting the EU cannot be found in the return to the nation state.
On the opposite, we believe that the current political answers are insufficient precisely because of the intergovernmental institutional setup of the EU which prevents truly European solutions. The key to sustainable solutions lies within in the creation of a democratic European federation based on the principle of subsidiarity. A federal Europe is the only way to guarantee democracy and development to the European citizens.
For these reasons, JEF-Europe calls on all political parties which do not identify with nationalist values across the continent to choose Europe and the path towards a European federation as key points of their political agenda.
Nationalism is, and will always be, the wrong answer in these globalised, interlinked times.