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7月份電子報: Brexit And The Missing Dialogue

英國脫歐與缺席的對話

全球綠人​秘書長/朝邦基金會董事   顏克莉 撰寫
 

2016年6月23日,英國人民針對是否脫離歐盟進行公投,又稱Brexit脫歐公投。英國人不僅投了一張反對歐洲的票,而是針對全球化所帶來的改變,以及讓社會與經濟上不平等狀態更為嚴重的狀態,表達出的抗議。英國決定脫離歐洲,對全世界的許多人,甚至包括許多歐洲與英國人來說,這個動作的確令人相當震撼。本期的朝邦對話新訊將思考歐洲與整個社會越漸解體背後的因素。

這場公投披露出英國社會明顯的分歧,三十歲以下的選民想要留在歐盟,較年長的選民則希望脫離歐盟;蘇格蘭與北愛爾蘭選民希望留下,英國與威爾斯選民想要離開;倫敦人想要留下,其他省的選民想要離開;一般大眾想要離開,而代表他們的國會議員,卻盡其所能想要留下。

公投後大批英國網友在谷歌(google)上詢問「什麼是歐盟」,反映出許多人對於公投的內容並不盡了解。我們也可以說,這個如此重要的議題上,公眾的對話與討論竟然如此不足。

政治中,溝通絕對是關鍵。脫歐派的文宣成功地牽動民粹主義的敏感地帶,因而影響公投上的辯論,也影響了最後的結果。越來越多英國與歐洲的選民都認為全球化的經濟只讓少數人得利,而不是一般選民。但是人民卻需要為金融業崩盤付出代價。而面對媒體新聞中充斥著令人害怕的訊息時,選民想要回到過去懷念的時光,當時一切似乎簡單些,即使需要放棄全球化的自由,包括四處遷移的自由也沒關係。

全球化的世界中的不安全感,正是英國脫歐公投與民粹主義情緒攀升的主因。歐盟海因里希·伯爾基金會(Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union)的執行長Klaus Linsenmeier表示,民粹主義者表現出自己是「人民」聲音的姿態,但是同時也排除了他人 - 「我們代表人民」的想法演變成「我們是唯一的人民」,也否定現代民主社會中的多元元素基礎,反而讓民粹主義成為最不民主的群體。

歐洲的危機

歐盟的建立,就是為了對抗上一世紀曾經二度摧毀歐洲的民粹式民族主義。將經濟、社會與機構整合,就是希望能夠協助歐洲用對話化解衝突,而不要使用武器。許多人甚至希望能夠藉此克服國家的限制。

建立歐洲與歐洲內的機構,是一場不斷對話的過程;歐洲的過程需要密集的討論,形成大眾可以接受的解決方案。要配合大家,才能讓大家繼續在一起。這也和對話一樣,需要所有人願意全力配合整個過程與最後的結果。但是會員國並不願意將主權交付給歐盟,導致歐盟便成了介於聯邦體制和一個聯邦國家之間的混合體。 歐盟會員國不願讓歐盟機構有權力,因而嚴重阻擾這些機構的運作,讓這些機構無法有效解決大家集體面對的挑戰。地方政治人物也缺乏需要肯定歐盟貢獻的動機。如果事情順利,地方各人馬搶功勞,但是如果選民不開心,所有的矛頭就會指向歐盟或其他外力。

反之,歐洲也有一股聲音,認為解決歐盟不足的方式,並非放棄它,而是要讓它更強,包括建立歐洲共合國。

歐洲與英國各地大家的共識就是,歐盟必須改革。

歐洲的未來是什麼?

對未來願景的分歧,社會經濟層面分裂越漸嚴重,都是英國、歐洲、遍及全世界各地持續將要面對的挑戰。能源方面的挑戰,經濟體制的轉型和調整,緩合氣候變遷的問題,這些過程中,都將出現更多的可能性,讓我們可以創造出更好的經濟與社會上的合作,造福集體與各自的利益。一場針對英國脫歐公投的對話中,應思考的是:我們在個人、集體的層面上該如何回應生命中即將經歷的改變?「離開」彼此之間的連結會比較好,還是「停留在」更緊密的連結比較好?

*Adapted from http://eu.boell.org/en/2016/06/30/brexit-united-kingdom-divided

取自:http://eu.boell.org/en/2016/06/30/brexit-united-kingdom-divided

Brexit and the Missing Dialogue

Keli Yen , Global Greens Coordinator/Board of Director, CP Yen Foundation

The United Kingdom European Union (EU) membership referendum on 23 June 2016, often referred to as the “Brexit”, was not just a vote against Europe, but also an expression of protest against changes wrought by globalisation and against leadership which have enabled social and economic inequalities to worsen.  The UK’s decision to leave the EU was a surprise for many around the world, including in Europe and the UK.  This CPYF Dialogue Newsletter reflects on what’s underlying the growing disintegration of Europe and of our societies.

The referendum exposed significant divides in British society; between voters under 30 who favoured remaining in the EU versus older voters who favoured leaving, between Scotland and Northern Ireland who voted to remain versus England and Wales who voted to leave, between London which voted remain verses the provinces which voted leave, and between the majority of the public who voted to leave versus their elected representatives in Parliament who overwhelmingly voted to remain.  

The sharp increase of google searches in the UK asking “What is the EU” after the referendum indicates a shocking lack of general understanding about the issues involved in the referendum.  It can also be argued that for so important an issue as this there has been inadequate public dialogue and deliberation.

Communication is key in politics. The Leave campaign succeeded in connecting with populist sentiments that shaped the referendum’s debate and ultimately the outcome.  An increasing number of voters, both in the UK and Europe, feel that globalisation has benefited a small privileged elite, but not them. The public feels it's unfair they should pay the price for bankers’ failings. Confronted with news dominated by messages of fear, voters yearn for a return to a nostalgic time when life felt simpler, even if that means curbing core freedoms which underpin globalisation, including the free movement of people.  

This sense of insecurity in a globalised world was the context for both the UK referendum and the rise of populist politics.  Populists express themselves as though they were the voice of “the people”, but at the same time they are exclusive - the notion of “we are the people” becomes “we are the one and only people” and therefore deny the pluralism that is the foundation of modern democracies, making populism undemocratic from the outset, says Klaus Linsenmeier, Director of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union.


The European crisis

The European Union was founded to overcome populist nationalism which destroyed Europe twice in the last century. Economic, social and institutional integration was intended to enable Europe to solve conflicts with dialogue rather than weapons. And many dreamed to overcome the nation state entirely.

Building Europe and its institutions was always an incremental dialogic process; and the European process is characterised by intense deliberations which evolve into pluralistic solutions. Accommodating everybody kept Europeans together, and like in dialogue, requires everyone to be fully committed to the process and to the end outcome.  But EU Member States are reluctant to transfer sovereignty to the EU, and so the Union has become an awkward mixture of both a federation of sovereign states and a federal state.  The EU nations' resistance to empower the Union’s institutions severely inhibits the their ability to effectively address the challenges which they collectively face.  Local politicians moreover have little incentive to praise the EU for its achievements.  If things go well, credit is claimed at the local level, but for political discontents, all blames goes to the EU or another seemingly outside force as scapegoat.

Conversely, there is also a growing movement in Europe which feels that the solution to the EU’s inadequacies is not to abandon it but to strengthen it further, including the possibility of creating a United States of Europe.

Across Europe and the UK what is agreed on is that the EU needs to be reformed.
 

What future for Europe?

Divides over a vision of the future, as well as growing divisions at social and economic levels continues to be a challenge for the UK, Europe and across the world.  The challenges in the energy sector and the need to transform our economy to mitigate and adapt to climate change offer enormous possibilities for better economic and social cooperation for the collective and self-interest.  A dialogue on the UK referendum should include a reflection on how we individually and collectively choose to respond to the changes we are experiencing in our lifetime; are we better served by “leaving” our connections to each other or by “remaining” in ever closer union with one another?

*Adapted from http://eu.boell.org/en/2016/06/30/brexit-united-kingdom-divided

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