Can we still love Europe?

On 9th May every year we commemorate Europe Day. It is normally a day when Europeans renew their commitment to a shared Project which is intended to be a shining example to the world. I have always felt proud of European civilisation and I have been a strong advocate of European integration as a means to advancing our society.

However, I must admit that I now have more doubts than ever about the feasibility, and indeed the future of Europe. There are many and different reasons for my growing reluctance, not least of which were the decisions taken during the prolonged economic crisis, and more recently, the disheartening policies regarding the refugees entering the Old Continent.

Moreover, there are other factors which have prompted me to question the path the EU is on, for instance, the unfortunate manner in which international conflicts are dealt with at their root, the rise of xenophobia and the increasing attacks against social progress, along with the scant respect for the right to decide for nations without statehood. Finally, there is a lack of both a competitive vision and of a social model which genuinely promotes freedom and social cohesion. Undoubtedly, all these factors have undermined my commitment to the European project. After weighing all the aforementioned factors, I cannot but disassociate myself from the Europe that is currently being built.

Nonetheless, I refuse to accept these features of contemporary Europe as being definitive. I believe that a different Europe is possible were it to be founded upon the principles, values and ideals which have presided over the struggle of countless Europeans to build a better society for our fellow citizens whilst extending a helping hand to other nations of the world. Indeed, it is not the European ideal that is faltering, but rather, it is its mismanagement that is making it unattractive, unfair and uncompetitive for its citizens.

Personally, I believe we must stand up for a New Europe which returns to its founding values: the search for a cohesive society which is based upon a solid capacity to create wealth, and one which fosters the equality of opportunities and solidarity. Furthermore, the values of the New Europe include respecting individual and collective freedoms and integrating the incredibly rich multicultural tapestry found within its borders, coupled with being actively generous and supportive of the world community of nations. This New Europe I envision would result in the open participation of all European nations in a shared future.

All of us together, must spur a movement which engenders a dynamic, charitable and supportive Europe, which integrates policies of improving competitiveness at the core of its political action. This New Europe would be the driving agent behind stable wealth creation unleashing its force to reduce inequality both in Europe and in the world. I truly would like to announce that "I am European" both in sentiment, and in logic. It would be good for all men and women of Europe, and the rest of the world.

Read the original article in El Economista.

Sabin Azua

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