The beautiful picture we used to illustrate the article of our friend Michel Pageault represents the abduction of the young seducing Europe by Zeus, who fell in love of its beauty.
In fact, Europe is very beautiful and attractive. It sometimes has a youthful behaviour and is involved in situations that can lead to dangerous paths and make it difficult to get back just as it occurred with the bull of Zeus.
Very often, the young Europe follows the mermaid calls whom our epic poet refers to (Luis de Camões, writer of “The Lusiads”) and wanders off its original track, with disastrous results for everyone. Distressingly, this is demonstrated with the two devastating world wars and series of “small local wars” that took place in Europe in the last hundred years.
The “pure” idea of the visionary founders of the European Union is still the same – create a free zone to live together peacefully, where everyone feels safe and where they can have conditions suitable to human development, in the sequence of the humanistic tradition of the area between Asia and the Ocean.
It was not possible to separate the humanistic tradition of Europe which became important from the Renaissance period. The solidarity that makes up this tradition needs to continue to be a fundamental factor of the European Union idealised in the post-war years. We cannot forget that, in our European zone, we had millions of internal refugees that searched in other lands the security and peace that were refused to them in their countries. The persecutions that took place in the old Soviet Union or in the Nazi Germany and other places, made millions of people forced to abandon their homes, families and property and look for a place where they could at least live with a minimum security.
The migration flow that crosses the Mediterranean every day will always have a positive response of Europe that already felt that painful wound many years ago. It is not by constructing walls at our borders that we will give a positive response. It is not also by aggravating two nationalisms or worse, two regionalisms, that Europe will fulfil its role.
Unfortunately, the European leaders seem to be lost and are unable to reach a common solution to a serious problem that needs to be analysed from a human point of view or from a secondary point of view. Once again, this problem shows us that the current leaders are unable to accomplish their missions and that they hide behind the bureaucratic procedures instead of finding solutions for the future. We hope that the next generation of leaders have the capacity that had those who led Europe from the Middle age to the Renaissance.
From an economic point of view, “our Europe” also led herself to the charming mermaids of Camões and followed the path that does not match our objectives. The existence of “tax havens” in its interior is, by far, the greatest contradiction – it covers illicit trade connected to war, drug, and human trafficking…
When the economy should be at the service of the people, we can see that the people’s resources are used for the bailout of banks and as funds that are kept by a small number of people that use them for their own benefit, or for those from the same “cast”. As citizens of a southern European country that has most felt the “predicament” of the spectators, we have assisted real situations of social terrorism with children that can only have one meal a day (given by the primary school) or we have seen sick people because hospitals do not have the “budget” to hire doctors, buy medical care or essential equipment. But we rescue banks that are not well managed, and we invest into them millions of euros…
This reality is part of the daily life of other countries in the same geographic zone, oddly enough, it is the region where the best humanitarian response for the refugee tragedy was given…
Once again, the current European leaders have not demonstrated their ability or will to give answers to the economic problem – they lose their time in very long bureaucratic meetings that have little effect on the daily life of the citizens.
Let’s repeat what we have said before – “We want our next generation of leaders to have the capacity that had those who led Europe from the Middle Age to the Renaissance.
Isn’t there hope for Europe? - Of course there is!
When the European Union will be a union of people, cultures, respecting one another, then we will have the Europe that was dreamed by the “visionaries of Rome”.
The only condition is that they do not try to impose unique and uniting values to the people that have a rich culture, developed throughout the centuries and that shows their way of life. The XX Century (especially) shows us the path we must follow. It is how our next generations need to understand it. We put our hope into them!
Cândido Vintém (Portugal)
President of the European Group