The need for practical solidarity and not only rhetoric in dealing with the pandemic and the economic crisis to protect the integrity and unity of the Union and the Eurozone, underlines the President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou in her message, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary Schumann, which led to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community.
The President of the Republic, after making a brief historical review of the course of European construction, points out that despite the problems and weaknesses, the European Union remains one of the few places in the world that harmoniously compose the market economy with social protection and responsibility. for the planet, the security of the rule of law with democratic freedoms and human rights, the national interest with the common European interest and notes that “in a world increasingly dark, Europe, with all its a perfect, its mistakes and failures, it remains the bright house at the top of the hill “.
In particular, in her message for Europe Day, the President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou states: “Today marks the 70th anniversary of the proclamation of Robert Schuman, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, which led to the creation of the European Community of Coal and Steel.
Five years and a day before this historic declaration, on May 8, 1945, World War II officially ended. Europe Day is celebrated the day after the victory in Europe and the founding of the European Community symbolizes the reconstruction of the old continent through the ruins and the human milestone of two wars.
For most of the first half of the 20th century, Europe was the dark continent described by Mark Mazauer: decades of war, civil war, dictatorship, totalitarianism, and a terrible economic crisis that contributed significantly to the rise of Nazism. The vision of a united Europe was boldly ambitious and also very realistic: as the proclamation stated: “Europe will not be created at once, not even in an overall edifice: it will be shaped by specific achievements that will first create real solidarity.” But it was not only the visionary intentions that built a solid Union. It was mainly the advantages of common European institutions and close co-operation that evolved into unbreakable interdependence.
The project was driven by the power of the minds of the founders of the European Community. Schumann, Monet, Adenauer, de Gasper were able to break free from the commitments of their time and national history and envision a common future for the peoples of Europe, just five years after the silencing of the bloodshed that engulfed the world. They were not held captive by nationalism and revanchism, nor were they held captive by the historical conflicts that placed them in rival camps.
The history of the unification of Europe is not a story of denial of the nation-state, of the national interest, of national patriotism. On the contrary, it is the inspired promotion of the national interest of the Member States through the creation of a strong Union, which makes its members much stronger in the world. It is the completion and framing of national patriotism with an external concentric circle of European patriotism. It is a leap in building mutual European solidarity, which is not only a product of the common values of European humanity but also the most intelligent realization of the national interest of European states. That is the strategy that would make a new war between the founding members of the community not only unthinkable but materially impossible.
Today, the world is facing the pandemic of coronation and the threat of a major economic recession. The challenge for the European Union is tantamount to a real restart of Europe, in order to keep the Union strong in an increasingly hostile environment, highlighting the web of interdependence that connects us in an unbreakable way. The union of Europe has always been promoted by material, economic means. In the same way, a common response to the pandemic crisis and the distribution of financial burdens in dealing with it is necessary to protect the integrity and unity of the European Union and the Eurozone.
European solidarity with its members must be not only rhetorical but practical. The restart economy will not be built on coal and steel, as it was in the 1950s, but on renewable energy sources and an ambitious green deal to tackle climate change. It will be built in parallel with the strengthening of health systems, as solid democracies and competitive economies need healthy and safe citizens.
Looking back over the last 70 years, we have been proud. The European Union remains one of the few countries in the world that harmoniously integrates the market economy with social protection and responsibility for the planet, the security of the rule of law with democratic freedoms and human rights, the national and common European interest.
In an increasingly dark world, Europe, with all its imperfections, mistakes and failures, remains the bright home on the top of the hill.