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ACRE

Daniel Hannan: our vision for the EU

7 September 2016

Daniel Hannan MEP is the Secretary-General of the AECR. In this speech regarding the EU’s first federal elections (2014), he describes the Alliance’s vision for the European Union.

Democracy is not just the right to mark a cross on a ballot paper every four or five years. Democracy also depends on a relationship between government and governed. People have to feel that they have enough in common one with another to accept decisions from each other’s hands.

That sense exists within a nation. But how many people really feel European in the same sense that we might feel Swedish or Hungarian or Portuguese?

To put it another way, democracy requires a demos, a unit with which we identify when we use the word “we”. And as we have just seen, there is precious little in the way of a European demos. If you take the demos out of democracy, you are left only with the kratos; with the power, the power of a system that has to compel by law what it dare not ask in the name of civic engagement.

The Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists has a different vision: we believe in a Europe of free peoples, free nations and free markets. We recognize the special legitimacy of national democratic institutions and mechanisms. We believe that decisions should be taken as closely as possible to the people that they affect.

So we will not be putting forward a candidate for the presidency of the European Commission. We believe that this process is setting up a government where there is no nation.

We stand ready and willing to participate in the debates, and we will put forward that point of view, on behalf of hundreds of millions of people around Europe, who recognize the special legitimacy and authority of their national institutions, and who have never agreed to be citizens of a federal Europe.