March 22, 2010
Local politics aside, by electing the abstention at an absolute majority, 25 millions French citizens told us yesterday they can’t stand regions.
In the 70’s, regions were created around the continent to be the next level of power. Together with the European Union, these steps would be closer to people and more dynamic in the world. Along the years, national leaders transferred their most popular competencies. Regions received transport, education and economic development. Europe received global competition, monetary affairs, environment, youth and research. This couple, Region-Europe, works well together and may look promising; but reality is people don’t like them.
In most countries, regional and European elections are the ones with the lowest participation rates, frequently 25 points below national or local ballots. Regions and the European Union remained technocratic offices. They are perceived as the places to administer technical issues where national and local governments are seen as the places to exchange political ideas. And that is a question of competences. By avoiding polemics, you avoid debates. By avoiding debates, they neglected passions, and thereafter interest. Regions and the EU receive the lowest democratic legitimacy because they don’t require more: they mostly handle uncontroversial sensible issues.
Europeans can’t stand regions because they can’t understand them. And the same goes for the European Union.