During the first term of the FFE-project we have had three workshops.
There has been very interesting conversations about living in a democracy and being a part of EU.
In Sweden we have good constrictions in the society in many ways, but we also see how things in society start to get harder. The gap between rich and poor is widening, and when the gap is widening the democracy get nibbled in the edge.
The FFE-project is a good way for us to focus on interesting societal issues, which are important for our participants.
During our first workshop, we had conversations about living with functional variation and mental health, differences between countries in Europe and what is good and less good in Sweden.
This was in november 2021.
Our second workshop was about feeling part of Europe. How important is it for me as a citizen of Sweden. here we had many interesting conversations about what happened in Europe today that we did not know when we had the workshop. Among other things, that if there were a war, Europe would feel more important than it is today (2021)
On the 9th of December the parliamentarian of our region was having a workshop with us at Urkraft, the theme was “Swedish democracy and EU, how are we really connected?”
Erik Bergkvist, member of the European Parliament for Västerbotten
“Democracy can be difficult, but of the alternatives, it is consistently the best way to govern! Without democracy, the alternative is dictatorship.”
We need to open up for participation, if we lose participation, it will become a threat to democracy, says Erik
Erik started by telling us what it looks like in the decision-making process in the EU. To approve a new law, parliament and the council must agree.
We are currently negotiating on how we in the EU can help in the member states to get through the energy crisis. The EU's mission is to bring about various negotiations and collaborations for Europe.
For northern Sweden, it is favorable right now with various funds that can support, e.g. the Social Climate Fund, the Just Transition Fund, this mainly when it comes to coal and mineral production for the industry. It has also been favorable for EU countries with the Recovery plan for Europe during ongoing pandemic funds
One problem is that democracy requires that it be allowed to take it’s time, we have the demand for a quick fix, which becomes complex and difficult in a democracy.
We talked about the Swedish collective agreement and the new rules being negotiated in the EU, also a way to reduce democracy by bringing in cheaper labor with unregulated agreements. This creates dissatisfaction, which leads to a reduction in trust in politics.
Large companies go free while the individual is affected, as the strong go free this is also a threat to democracy
What can we do to strengthen the economy? Cooperation, dialogue, participation. Ask questions.
On the issue of NATO, Erik believes that they are needed as major threats with dictatorships take up a great deal of space, NATO can be a counterweight.
When it comes to organized crime, a larger international work is required.
Welfare and the survival of democracy require great transparency in society, where citizens can speak and be listened to.
In a society like Skellefteå, in great change at a high pace, it is easy for democracy to be whittled away and socially excluded citizens suffers.
When the people lose faith in politicians and a society in rapid change, conspiracy theories also increase, which creates further uncertainty and more mistrust.
So let's create dialogue and dare to address the big issues!