What has the EU ever done for me?
It is a question we ask ourselves quite frequently these days, not least because of the populists who, considering themselves in the ascendant, like to whisper it in our ear. The purpose of the question is to sow doubt – to make us stop and ponder. In many people, it has the desired effect: after all, it is not all that easy to provide a concrete answer, is it? What springs to mind? Maybe the funding pools for agriculture or those for road construction? Then, it promptly occurs to us that this money is also misused at times. Just like that, we are back in the downward spiral. Grumbling about Europe is a great deal easier.
Perhaps it is not really so surprising we cannot think of a lot of examples of what Europe has done for us. After all, the key strength of the EU lies in providing a general framework of rules. These will often be about the really important matters in life: family, work, consumer protection, civil rights, health and money. Naturally, each of these can also be broken down into tiny details. However, before you start thinking, “Here comes yet another regulation on the curvature of cucumbers”, that one was abolished in 2009. In any case, it was mostly fundamentally misunderstood.
If we take a close concrete look at everything involved, the process is all pretty confusing initially. The overall EU regulatory framework generates countless individual regulations – in fact, over 1,000 new regulations and laws are enacted each year. It is impossible to go through them all and laboriously indicate how we benefit from them on a daily basis.
That is why the website What Europe does for me was created. Here, set out neatly and clearly, you will find plenty of information telling you exactly what the EU has done for you. This is all nicely sorted into three sections: In my region, In my life and In focus.
Each of the three sections invites you to delve deeper. You can take a look at what the EU has accomplished in your own region or go through all of Europe’s regions. What has happened in my favourite holiday region? What about the country my EU neighbour hails from? If you would like to know what the EU is doing for you in concrete terms – whether you live in a city or in the country, whether you are a single parent or have just lost your job – see “In my life” for projects and information dealing with these and many other topics. Meanwhile, in the section entitled “In focus”, we discover what improvements the EU has already achieved in specific contexts, as well as learning in which others – such as the regulation of artificial intelligence and of tax havens – there is still plenty of work to be done.
You may well come away from the website in a state of some astonishment – because it turns out the EU has already done more for us than we generally realise.