Europe Coming Out of the Rut

Everyone seems to agree that Europe is not headed in the best direction. How disappointing it is to see the European Union, as it is today, powerless and divided, misunderstood by the European citizen.

While we should acknowledge certain developments such the European Financial Stability Pact concerning the euro or the beginning of a new fiscal convergence, these accomplishments are hiding the existing divisions in a number of areas within intergovernmental decision making, ultimately putting community involvement on the back burner.

How can we not be disappointed in the system when it is easy to see that a federal Europe would better protect the interests of the European people, so that Europe could be heard in the context of the globalization that characterizes the beginning of the 21st century? How can we not be disappointed when we see the governments of member states helpless in a number of areas that mark true European solidarity, such as promoting policies and communal projects? It is not very surprising that many of our citizens have turned their backs on the idea of a unified Europe.

Reacting is urgent. We do not have the right to allow a construction that has generated so much hope, that has brought us peace and freedom, to wither away. Everyone understands that positive effects only come from a genuine cause. A disintegrated Europe is a Europe where we can expect to see new emerging conflicts in the future. So how should we react? First, we must explain why Europe is a necessity. Our government cannot take a position that prevents Europe from development, and that goes for all European governments. Thus, it is particularly important to encourage and activate public opinions, which is the role of civil society and the basis of what the European Mouvement of France represents. But how can the voluntary sector act when public support is lacking?

To react would be to take action and show that we believe in Europe: to define a common energy policy; launch new projects of joint companies which prove Europe can succeed through cooperation and working together; establish a common policy on immigration and the welcoming of immigrants, an essential for the Schengen Area; or even initiate a European diplomacy to pool our resources. Many more examples and possibilities can be cited.

Can we react? Yes, if civil society is able send a warning, a cry of help, if we can make Europe a real discussion with the next presidential election. Yes, if the elections in June 2014 of the European Parliament, in the spirit of the Treaty of Lisbon, allow a true European campaign on the candidacy for President of the Commission with a project presented by each major European political family.

Yes, if we accept that with an enlarged Europe, it will not be possible to progress all at the same time and pace. Europe needs a locomotive. The founding states, and the first and foremost among them France, must regain their driving force and be the first to abide by these rules.

Europe is experimenting with pioneer groups, which is positive since it clearly shows that the goal is to initiate a dynamic which gradually brings together the maximum number of member states. This is not to impose a two-tier Europe, nor is it to return to prior achievements. It is to move forward to train others in their wake. We should add that these European pioneers are not just nation states. European cities and regions are also places of intervention for tomorrow’s Europe.

The fight for Europe is not nostalgia for the past, of the post-World War II era, of the second half of the twentieth century. It is a fight of today, for peace, freedom, and prosperity for our people of Europe. It is a fight to give our youth a promising future, assuming a shared and collective mission.

This article was first published in the French newspaper ’La Croix’ on the 30th of May 2011.

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