Europe as a project for the future

We have always heard about Europe, the European Council, about President of the European Commission Juncker and we have always felt that it is very distant and that we are disconnected from it, especially given that it is a supranational institution that transcends our idea of what a State represents.

However, that is completely not the case, since the EU has always had and still has a huge impact in everything that we do and its presence, even if it sometimes goes unnoticed, is of such a dimension that all our actions and movements are somehow connected with the EU.

The European Union was created after the war with a commercial purpose and with a more incisive objective than it does presently, but since then it was an institution and a project for the future, than would not only serve the citizens of that time, as well the citizens of the present and certainly the citizens of tomorrow. Something that was created with such a central objective has transformed through the years into something far superior to simple economical interests with present objectives of preserving democracy in the countries of this old continent.

In 1986 Portugal and its neighbour Spain made the best decision in their recent history - their EU accession. It was a very important step, that, thanks to a democratic attitude from all Portuguese citizens, has allowed Portugal, after a dictatorship that closed our horizons, to now be a country more open to the world and more developed.

Ever since, Portugal has belonged to a project for the future that has always been characterised by its defence of fundamental rights and free trade.

We, young people, have always taken for granted all of the benefits that belonging to the EU has brought us.

We benefit from European citizenship, we benefit from the possibility of moving all across Europe without additional costs, we benefit from the import of products from all these European countries without having to pay additional fees, we benefit indirectly from EU funds that enable us to develop our communities in a way that is adequate to present circumstances, etc…

However, Europe is more and bigger than that. It represents the union of the peoples of Europe in a conjoint effort for democratisation, to ensure a better life for everyone within it and that we acknowledge in familiar terms.

Given the current populist wave in Europe, the EU as we know it might be at stake. To ensure our future as a community, but also as individuals, we need to head to the ballot box on the 26th and support the European project.

Manuel Santiago