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The challenges pro-Europeans face during the European elections campaign

The team of “Au Café de l’Europe” was awarded the prize of “Citizen Media of 2014” by the European Civic Forum.

The second video is an English version of my speech held on this occasion at Strasbourg’s City Hall (3 May 2014).

For hearing-impaired people, the text of the speech is available below the video.

Pierre-Antoine KLETHI

 

“I would now like to dedicate 2 or 3 minutes to the challenges we all face during this European elections campaign.

First of all, like Pope John Paul II who was canonised last Sunday, I tell you: “Don’t be afraid!” We need to eliminate fear and not play with it as populists do. Indeed, announcing a disaster if they obtain a relative success is not enough to deter voters from supporting these parties. Besides, even if 1/6th of future MEPs are Eurosceptic, they won’t be able to block the work of the Union.

Instead, we must show courage! The courage to advocate our values. The courage to defend results that are far from being bad. The courage to stand up for the gains brought by the European integration.

We must also speak the truth, because it is the only way to fight the voters’ disillusionment with politics.

Furthermore, we must talk in a simple manner, in the language of the people, to fight against populists with their own arms. This means using slogans and punchy sentences against populists rather than detailing technical aspects in which most citizens are not interested.

We must then discuss concrete issues, tell significant stories (in other words, use the famous “story-telling”). In addition, let us not present this election simply as a referendum in favour or against the European Union, because we would be falling into the trap of the populists who thereby try to hide the weakness of their programmes.

Moreover, and I’m addressing these words particularly to our representatives present tonight, the civil society must be involved in rebuilding closer ties between citizens and elected representatives, between citizens and Europe.

Finally, we must have a positive discourse! Positive, but not naive. Positive, but not disconnected from reality. Because this is the way to fight effectively for the European integration and against populists. It’s with a clear and positive vision that we will again give hope to our fellow citizens.

Thank you for your attention!”

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