OPINION

Europe in progress

The events of the last few days have given us plenty to lament, especially the tragic loss of 21 schoolchildren on the roads of our «modernized, robust Greece,» a country where public life is being choked by corruption while government officials line their pockets by making useful business connections. Unfortunately, instead of ascending toward the average standard of our European counterparts, we seem to increasingly resemble a country from the developing world; our mentality, infrastructure, and the way our businesses, public services and governing bodies operate are not even remotely European. The funny thing is that we aspire to export this «model» to neighboring countries that are less developed. However, with this week’s EU enlargement summit, the time has come to stop whining about trivialities and seriously focus on the future of a common Europe. Regardless of the disagreements that preceded the US-led war in Iraq, the positive energy of the new «Europe of 25» could help to boost the «opposite pole» on the international stage and offer solutions based on reasoned argument rather than on firepower. But time and decisive steps are needed if objectives are to be realized. A major challenge is to move toward the homogenization of the different European peoples while also aligning the newly acceded member states with the Union’s acquis communautaire. For this to be achieved, we need years of constructive cooperation rather than pressure from the other side of the Atlantic.