Europe's history must be told more to people, not knowing our history weakens our own identity
Commissioner Carlos Moedas
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Investigation, was joined on stage by Hugo Van der Ding, a Portuguese comedian who is also known in Portugal for speaking about the EU.
The debate addressed the necessity to make Europe known to its citizens, understanding and fighting populism, Artificial Intelligence, Corruption, Federalism, the Influence of European Legislation in other parts of the world, Disinformation, and Investment.
The Citizens’ Dialogue event in Braga, held at the GNRation with around 60 people, was part of a political festival.
Commissioner Moedas stressed more than anything else the need to bring the EU closer to its citizens and emphasised the importance of telling people Europe’s history, given that not knowing it undermines its own identity.
The Commissioner pointed out how the EU is seen as a cultural but not as a political unit by young people, mainly as a result of the Erasmus + program.
Commissioner Moedas also wished to see changes in the way legislative acts are named within the EU, recalling how laws are named in the USA (ex: The Patriot Act), in order to make them more apprehensible.
Attached to this problem comes the fear of disinformation, concerning which Commissioner Moedas gave the recent example of the badly understood Article 13 of the Copyright Directive.
The issue of populism was debated, too, which Commissioner Moedas explained by saying that people who feel excluded by the system see its destruction as the only solution and that populist parties channel feelings of injustice, inequality and even the fear they create and thrive on.
Putting forth a clever metaphor, Commissioner Moedas likened these parties to a doctor who proposes the quick and easily understandable solution of amputating an infected finger, which the patient immediately grasps, instead of taking his time explaining a more intricate yet more effective cure. Corruption, he went on, as well as a feeling of impunity also help to distance the voter from politicians and political institutions.
Mr. Moedas highlighted the relevance of Artificial Intelligence and declared that the next step for the EU will be related to deeper technologies connected to law and regulation.
Looking ahead the Commissioner said he sees, long-term, a federalist Europe, yet one resting on the nation-state and not one similar to the USA’s federalism. This federalism is justified by the fact that some issues, such as climate change, can only be solved together.
Commissioner Moedas spoke of the influence EU legislation has on other regions of the world as a standard setter, and gave the example of the General Data Protection Regulation.
There was also time for Commissioner Moedas to speak of investments relating to his own portfolio and the programmes it finances.