After the 55 million deaths caused by WWII, after centuries of nationalist and imperialist wars left Europe in ruins, the peoples and the national governments across the continent finally realized that European unity was the only way to stop this madness.
Immanuel Kant had had this vision 150 years earlier in his philosophical treatise “On Eternal Peace.” So, at long last, Europe’s leaders set out to turn it into reality. Over the next decades, the Common Market, the European Community and the European Union emerged, followed by a common currency. Dictatorships fell and democracy prevailed throughout the continent.
A Europe without internal borders has become reality: Every EU citizen can look for a job in any EU country. Entrepreneurs are free to set up a business anywhere they like. We can buy and sell goods across the bloc without any tariffs. Services may be offered everywhere. And there’s more. Young Europeans can get their education at any university in Europe. And, like all of us, they can experience Europe’s cultural diversity and the common values and traditions that underpin it. And let’s be clear: Our continent had never before experienced 73 years of peace throughout its long history. These are great achievements of the European Union. It is far more than just an economic project: It’s a cultural project, a leap of civilization for which the whole world envies us.
Yet all of this is in danger. Nationalism is rearing its ugly head again throughout Europe. Solidarity is yielding to selfishness, as if we were forgetting what the previous generation learned from history. From the outside, Donald Trump, Russia, and China are testing Europe’s unity, our willingness to stand united for our values, to defend our way of life. [Continue reading…]