Commentary: Nobody likes the European Union

If there is one conversation killer for a regular dinner, it may well be the European Union. Or do you disagree?

The EU is perceived as this remote and complicated institution that has a say on several aspects of your everyday life, and which is so easy to blame for any problems existing at the national level. Unemployment? The result of free movement within the EU. The global crisis? The result of the limits imposed on state power by the Euro. Today, euroscepticism has never been so high in the member states of the Union.

In a way, it is interesting to hear these things from heads of states when you know that the most powerful body of the European Union is not the Parliament or the European Commission: it is the European Council, which is manned by these very same state leaders.

But it works.

Louis de Gouyon Matignon is the 22-year old leader of a new French party called the Parti Européen (European Party), which he has launched in February 2014. Why a new party? Because he thinks older generations are not doing enough with the amazing tool that is the European Union.

As the elections get closer, he often hangs out in front of universities, trying to engage fellow students in a discussion on the need for new European objectives in France. The responses of these young people often echo the eurosceptic rise present in the French society: the EU is too far from our reality, the EU costs too much money, the EU is too complicated, the EU is taking away power from France…

You always fear what you don’t understand, states a popular saying. The Union has been around for over 50 years in one form or the other, and yet it remains a mystery to most of the European population.

Maybe it is time that one way or the other, the EU makes a choice on what it intends to be. Why have a President of the European Commission, or a  high representative for the EU’s foreign and security policy, if these jobs are to fulfilled by people lacking authority and charisma?