Europe without Borders – Julia’s speech

delivered in Bochum at the primary election of the German Pirate Party for the European elections, 04.01.2014. Check against delivery.

I’m Julia, many of you also know me as Senficon. I’m 27 years old and next week I’ll be graduating in political science.

As a Pirate, I founded the openmind four years ago. That’s a conference where we try to look beyond our own noses and, together with non-Pirates, develop new ideas.

And that’s where I want to go as a candidate: towards a networked and open society in a Europe without borders.

Since January 1st, people from Romania and Bulgaria may decide freely where they would like to live and work.

I think that’s fantastic!

Many politicians are now trying to appeal to our fears. They want to present the lack of borders in the EU as a threat, when in reality, that is the goal! The overcoming of borders is at the core of the European idea.

This idea comes naturally to us Pirates: On the internet, we have already developed this model of society.

On the internet, borders make no sense — we can achieve more when we are connected. I want to move freely. I don’t want the internet to stop at my country’s border.

Knowledge grows when it is shared.

I can see how well this works among the Young Pirates. As many of you know, I am the chairwoman of the Young Pirates of Europe, which we founded just this summer.

This experience has been extremely motivating. In Germany, many try to tell us that the Pirates have already had their 5 minutes of fame.

I’ve travelled to a lot of international conferences to represent the Young Pirates of Europe, and I am constantly reminded of how new the ideas of Pirates actually are. I have been invited to Strasbourg and to Korea to talk about democracy in the digital age. In Iceland Pirates are polling above 10 percent. In the Czech Republic or in Luxembourg we’ve been celebrating our first electoral successes.

When we travel and meet up freely in Europe, new friendships and new political ideas arise.

For example, the idea of a European Basic Income is spreading among European Pirates like a wildfire.

With the internet, we deepen these contacts and we grow into a true community.

I’m already following the goals we have set for Europe.

Together with Gilles, who’s also running for a place on the ballot, I have created the Tandem to Brussels.

We are campaigning as a Tandem. That means that we share the same vision for Europe and we prepare for the election campaign together. And we invite others to participate.

Along with other Pirates, we have written a pledge that lays down our work ethics for the job at the European Parliament.

42 Pirates from six different countries have signed it: from Germany, Sweden, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France and the Netherlands.

We pledge to work together, to share ressources and work transparently.

Transparency in the EU is a tricky affair: the problem is not that doors are closed—it is rather that there are too many doors.

It is clear to the Commission that the EU is too disconnected from the people. And to some extent, it seems to be trying to improve transparency.

But transparency doesn’t simply mean to dump all information into the internet. That is is a lesson we Pirates have learned.

I stand for active transparency. Active transparency means presenting information in a way that people understand.

Active transparency means communicating with you online.

Active transpareny is also writing the instructions for answering the copyright consultation. Together with our member of European Parliament Amelia Andersdotter, I have written a guide on how you can muddle through the Commission’s questions on copyright.

The Commission has announced that it will decide this year whether or not to reform European copyright. That is just one of the many reasons why we need Pirates within the European Parliament.

We now have the chance to establish net neutrality in the whole of Europe.

And with TTIP, the free trade agreement between EU and the USA, all the mistakes made with ACTA are being repeated.

I have mobilised against ACTA among Pirates since 2010. I was lucky to be able to work for Amelia Andersdotter at the European Parliament for a couple of months while she was convincing her committee to reject ACTA.

Pirates have contributed a lot for the mobilisation against ACTA. It looks like we will have to repeat this success with TTIP. Therefore, we need strong Pirates within the European Parliament and I would like to be on the forefront.

I am very well prepared for the mandate. I am used to representing Pirates in an international environment. In my university thesis I have extensively dealt with the programmes of other parties — I have actually read them. Thus, I know very well where the other parties stand and what their weaknesses are.

Because I am about to graduate I will have plenty of time to concentrate on the election campaign.

And now I will tell you something that will surely ring alarm bells for many Pirates:

I can’t wait to get on this job! The three months I was allowed to work in Brussels for Amelia where among the most exciting times of my live. In Brussels I feel like a fish in water.

There is a political sytem emerging that is unlike anything we’ve seen before, a chance to finally overcome national egoisms.

And what do Pirates do when they find a beta-version?

We are excited by anything new, we troubleshoot and we partner up to improve on it.

Our Europe takes the internet as a model: it is collaborative, boundless and connected!

This vision, I will represent for you. Grant me your vote and I’ll take you along!

Many thanks.

Comments closed.