Decisions that seriously affect our lives are made without consulting us

Farmers' protests show lack of democracy in the European Union

Farmers and ranchers from several European countries have taken their tractors and taken to the streets and highways to express their exhaustion.

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Brussels' ideological impositions ruin the primary sector

This protest from the primary sector is directly related to the impositions of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the European Green Deal, approved by the European Parliament on January 15, 2020. What the farmers and ranchers is more and more ecological demands, more and more bureaucratic obstacles and unfair competition tolerated by the European Union (EU), which allows access to non-EU products produced without respect the demanding standards that Brussels imposes on European farmers and ranchers, which leads to ruin for our primary sector.

Some people may think that these problems only affect our farmers and ranchers. Even if this were the case, the primary sector is what feeds us Europeans. Without their products, we would become dependent on non-EU countries for products that are part of our basic consumption. The predatory policy that Brussels has pursued with this sector is colossally irresponsible, and should encourage us to ask a question: who do our politicians serve? Does Brussels think about our common good or does it put the ideology of certain politicians above all else?

The despotic attitude of a large part of the European political class

Beyond that, what farmers are suffering is more than just an economic conflict. This protest reveals the lack of democracy in the European Union, which has become a gigantic and implacable bureaucratic machinery that is increasingly distant and opaque for European citizens. The majority of the European political class has assumed a despotic concept, which consists of legislating and governing in the name of the people but with their backs turned to them.

Although many think this is the case, a democracy does not only consist of voting for our legislators every four years. For there to truly be a democracy, the fundamental rights of citizens must be respected. One of these rights is embodied in Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

"Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives."

A large part of our political class seeks to limit this right to elections. We are seeing it in Spain with the reform of Article 49 of the Constitution: only Vox has requested its ratification through a referendum, which was the same democratic procedure by which this fundamental law of Spain was approved. The other parties, apparently, believe that they can act on our behalf without consulting us on any of their decisions.

Not a single consultation on decisions that seriously affect us

This despotic attitude has gone further than ever in the EU. In Brussels and Strasbourg, more and more regulations are approved that threaten our way of life, our prosperity and our freedoms, invading more and more spheres of social life with a torrent of provisions that end up covering any aspect of our existence. A referendum is never called for anything, we are never consulted for anything. They only allow us to vote once every five yearsand after that they don't even bother to require our approval for decisions that were not in their electoral programs, as if we had no rights or voice of our own.

This is less and less a democracy and more and more a bureaucratic authoritarianism, in which Europeans stop being citizens and become mere subjects. We should thank farmers and ranchers for hitting the table. And we should feel ashamed for not doing it ourselves.


Photo: Europa Press. Protest by Spanish farmers in Écija (Seville), this Tuesday, February 6.

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