‘Europe still needs to be built’

‘Europe still needs to be built’

It’s been a while since we heard something so purely positive about Europe. A pan-European study showed that the emotional bond of Europeans on the Old Continent has been strengthened. In all countries, the percentage of those who wanted to leave the European Union has fallen significantly. The results are attributed to the EU’s “effective attitude toward major crises in recent years,” which are, mainly, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Brexit fiasco. Euroskeptic parties, such as those in France and Italy, are promoting proposals for reforming the Union from within rather than heroic exits.

Are there any signs that this trend will increase further in the future? Obviously it cannot be predicted, especially in such volatile times with their uncontrollable pressures, but if the bond is becoming stronger, is it an indiction of a shift – even a temporary one – in intentions and desires? The concept of a “union” is gaining ground for an additional reason: It has become evident in recent years that individual European governments do not always inspire confidence that they govern with seriousness, empathy and knowledge, avoiding unpleasant shocks or even (in some countries) very intense social reactions.

It is not just the cautionary tale of the United Kingdom, where the turmoil caused by Brexit has forced the country to change five prime ministers in six years; it is also the fact that the political map in Europe shows significant political differences between countries, while the rise of far-right populist parties is also a concern. While the energy crisis is testing EU unity, citizens are increasingly aware that the risks and upheavals for a country are more manageable inside the Union than outside.

The European spirit, no matter how battered, no matter how much we struggle with its repeated mutations, harbors what Albert Camus had already discussed in 1955, speaking at the French Institute of Athens about “the future of European civilization,” and the “solidarity of suffering.” If Europe does not let disunity destroy what it has built with great effort, it will always persevere. “We know the extreme, we lived it (…) we went through events that allowed us to know it,” he said in different historical contexts. “Europe will still need to be built. It always needs to be built. But at least it will still be Europe.” Almost 70 years ago… And yet, who wouldn’t subscribe to this view? 


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