In May 2019, Europeans, voting to decide which national representatives to send to the European Parliament, turned out in distinctly larger numbers than for previous elections. The turnout was eight points higher than in 2014, taking it up to almost 51%. It is difficult to say precisely what prompted this level of participation, but as Jean-François Drevet shows here, it seems fair to assume that European citizens are beginning to grasp the space of freedom the European Union represents and are keen to commit to it more.
In many ways, the EU does indeed offer genuine guarantees of peace and democracy. The Celtic nations have been able to see this as Brexit has unfolded, the European Union offering them greater scope for development than the United Kingdom. As a general rule, democracy and the rule of law are preconditions for joining the EU. Once they are members, states are expected to continue to conform to these conditions, with European institutions striving to ensure this as best they can. Lastly, though it still has some way to go in terms of common defence and security, the EU has nonetheless managed to maintain peace within its frontiers, while respecting the sovereignty of the peoples that make it up. In view of – even the recent – past of the Old Continent, this is significant and is perhaps beginning to bear fruit.