THE VOICE MOVEMENT – Bases and direction
The world is undergoing tremendous change. Modern technology has created enormous and unprecedented benefits. Nevertheless, we are also confronted with growing inequality and segments of the population have not fully benefitted from globalisation. There is a widening gap between those who are taking advantage of the available opportunities and those who have not followed, or are simply are unable to follow this development. Often referred to as the “losers of globalisation", this part of our society is facing tremendous challenges. Too often, political leaders have failed to provide the right answers to the challenges of today. That is why these citizens have often lost their belief in the current system and its representatives and institutions.
This situation has worsened due to the “migration crisis” in Europe. Even though, recent measures have helped to drive the number of illegal border crossings down to pre-crisis levels, the mismanaged response to the migration wave has significantly deepened people’s mistrust in both national and European politics. At the same time, another phenomenon is directly undermining the functioning of democracy: cyberattacks, illegal data mining and disinformation campaigns influence voting behaviour during elections and referendums – as demonstrated by the US presidential elections and Britain’s decision to leave the EU. The inability of politicians to react to these trends has opened the door for populists all over Europe. Their simplistic protest slogans sound alluring. Yet they never really offer an alternative or a viable remedy.
Unfortunately, the Czech political landscape is currently dominated by populism, a high concentration of political and economic power as well as an effort of some politicians to constrain the judiciary and media independence. Some view the EU as a source of danger. Certain politicians are even trying to reorient the Czech Republic towards the east and towards authoritarianism. They wish to turn our liberal values inside out: They claim to protect our freedoms, by limiting them instead. They claim to defend security, but instead make us unsafe. They claim to be committed to human dignity, yet vilify and respond with hate to those who are different. They want to freeze societies, not free them.
We - on the contrary - are committed to maintaining and protecting liberal democracy as the defining model of public governance. The Czech Republic, Europe, and the world need to strengthen liberal democracy, modernise our economic model, as well as strengthen the institutions that provide our regulatory environment. Our political movement, VOICE (“HLAS” in Czech – meaning both “voice” and “vote”) aims to contribute to this process and to ensure sustainable development that benefits all our citizens. In this way, we can overcome social divisions in our society.
We want to establish the movement as an open platform on the centre-right that aims to promote liberal democracy and the rule of law, foster sustainable development and strengthen Czech and European competiveness. And we want to demonstrate that European integration is not a threat but an opportunity. Too often the EU debate has been undermined by myths and misinformation. We share a responsibility to foster an honest debate about the future of Europe and better promote the positive impact of EU policies and cooperation on the lives of our citizens.
The first goal of the VOICE movement is to succeed at the European Parliament elections. Our newly-elected members of parliament will continue the work of Pavel Telička and Petr Ježek, current MEPs who are two of the co-founders of the VOICE movement. Both have experience in both the Czech state administration and European institutions at the top level for almost 30 years. Pavel Telička is the only Czech Vice-President of the European Parliament, while Petr Ježek is the only MEP chairing both a committee and a delegation (for foreign relations). But it is not simply their job titles that qualify them to help to modernise the European project. The influence that they have managed to develop and exert constitutes a key component of their work.
VOICE stands ready to set out upon the path of strengthening liberal democracy, stability, security, and the fair distribution of prosperity in our country, and to contribute to the evolution of Europe and our world. VOICE would like to offer a place to young people and to people from various professional backgrounds who are interested in entering politics but have hitherto not done so, be it because of impenetrable party structures or the unwillingness of party leaders to listen to new and innovative ideas.