Lastly, I want us to put behind us this sort of childlike dilemma Europe is currently tied up in. A dilemma where on the one side, some want to make the people say “yes” or “no” and manipulate them for months, where the referendum becomes the weapon of populists and anti-Europeans alone; and where on the other, those who believe in Europe end up afraid of their peoples and hide behind their own doubts, saying to themselves “let’s move forward but without changing the treaties, for fear of having to hold another referendum. Let’s move forward in baby steps, behind closed doors. The people will not understand.”
We need to choose another, a third way, the one invented here, at this very spot. That way was not that of demagogy, but that of democracy, of controversy, of constructive debate driven by critical thinking and dialogue. It was the way that involved entering into the detail of each question and its complexity, to decide what we want to do for the common city. That is what I want to see in the first half of 2018 in all the countries of our continent, of Europe, to rediscover the zest of what was invented at this spot where we are standing, and which formed the basis for our democracies. So yes, through these six months of democratic conventions, we should debate this roadmap, the principles for which the governments will have designed, and then we can meet again to reconcile them and, on that basis, after debate, including grassroots debate locally and digital debates across Europe. Then we can build what will be the foundations for an overhaul of Europe for the coming ten, fifteen years, we can build the terms of what we really want together. That is the ambition I want to see as a method in the coming months.
Looking back over Greece’s history means seeing the strength of this democracy and debate. That is I what I want us to rediscover together for our Europe. But beyond that, I want the everyday operation of tomorrow’s Europe to once again be more democratic. I want us to put behind us the rules invented by the few for the many, and to reinject more democracy into everyday operations.
That is why I am advocating transnational lists for the next European elections. Our British friends have decided to leave. We should not try to redistribute the few seats they free up in the European Parliament between us. No! Just think: at last we can have a European debate, and European lists, a genuine European democracy that will live through countries. And tomorrow, if we want a more integrated eurozone, an avant-garde core of European countries, we should ensure greater democratic strength. We should establish a eurozone Parliament to design the rules to make those who make decisions democratically accountable – which is not the case today.
All that is what I want us to rediscover together, because the true fuel of Europe is not a hunger for standards, but democratic vitality. Rediscovering the initial promise of Europe is possible if we assume our desire for sovereignty and our need for democracy. To once again cite Pericles, we will achieve nothing in distrust and treachery. For years, this distrust has undermined the adhesion that is essential to the European project. It has worn away confidence which now needs to be rebuilt. That requires a return to the very meaning of the European adventure, to the deeply held conviction that supports it.