Mind the Gap

Alex Guzenako

After Tajani’s „Europa-Rede“ the audience was left puzzled and somewhat scared of the mismatch between European leaders and the people they represent.

By Alex Guzenko Indistinct, subtle chatter pierces the serene atmosphere of the Allianz Forum. Bright, but not blinding light fills in a large modern auditorium. The interior is plain, yet sophisticated, almost tailor-made to prescind from petty details and focus on something as grandiose, as a shared future. The open space has a small podium: high enough to elevate the speaker, but low enough to visually minimize the gap between the presenter and his listeners. This open, simple, and, at least at a glance, equal platform unconsciously sets expectations. Expectations of dozens of avid listeners that what they are about to hear reflects the ideas both in their hearts and in their minds.

More questions than directions

Minutes go by, and shortly the clock will point at the 30 minute mark and hence conclude a lengthy statement by Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament. Fluctuating between topics ranging from shared history and Christianity to common security and monetary policies, Tajani may have spoken virtually about everything. But, evidently little of his words were in line with the sentiments of the audience he tried so hard to appeal to. Among many in the audience, including myself, it raised more flags and posed more questions than it gave directions and securities about our shared future. The speech reached its grand finale with an uneven audience verdict. Many were left puzzled, perplexed and somewhat scared of the existing mismatch between European leaders and the people they represent. The biggest aftermath question, as it turned out to be, wasn’t Tajani’s opinions or even his speech – it was what we as citizens can do to ensure that such an important statement as the “Europa-Rede” represents our vision of the common future. Each may have a different answer, but it is certainly not to stand still and wait until something changes. — Alex Guzenko is a media specialist from Kyiv, Ukraine.