Europe: choice of peace

Publish date 17-05-2024

by Luca Jahier

At the beginning of Genesis there is the letter B (Bet, Bere'shîth), which means in the beginning, blessing and which corresponds to the number 2, which it suggests duality, plurality, bond, comparison that becomes dialogue and alliance, understanding and common action.

We live in a world that we don't like at the moment – between wars, climate crisis, inequalities and poverty, growing fears and divergences – and which poses imposing challenges for us: the international system risks collapse and is always slipping more towards scenarios of destruction of that network of peace and international cooperation, based on the law of force, which has found its strengths in the European Union and the United Nations system.

"Europe was not made: we had the war" we read in the text of the Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950 from which European construction originated. «Europe will arise from concrete achievements that first and foremost create de facto solidarity». To the reasons of the centuries-old struggle for territories, resources, power, the friendship between Schuman, Adenauer and De Gasperi contrasts reconciliation and relationships, starting to share precisely those goods (coal and steel) for which it had been fought, according to a "production solidarity". «The creation of this powerful production unit, open to all […] will lay the real foundations of their economic unification […] First stage of the European Federation […] This production will be offered to the world without distinction or exclusion, to contribute to the rise of the book of life and the progress of the works of peace".

In the strength of that unsurpassed political manifesto we can read the fabric of the European construction of the past 70 years, up to the extraordinary responses of the last decades, from the single currency to enlargement, from the response to the pandemic to the plans of recovery and resilience in the NextGenerationEU, based on the green and digital transition. The history of the European project is a historical demonstration that the parable of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes works: a continent destroyed by war, by choosing peace, the sharing of resources and sovereignty, has generated wealth for itself and for many others outside the European borders, has progressively included other countries (from the 6 founders to the current 27 and another 10 are the candidate countries) and achieved levels of progress, territorial convergence, equity and social security that are still unmatched anywhere in the world. world.

But polls tell us today that feelings of uncertainty, frustration, impotence, anger, fear are growing, all emotions that especially the many entrepreneurs of hatred, internal and external, can exploit for their own miserable interests electoral or geopolitical objectives. Yet, among those feelings there is also much more: active, demanding, proactive hope, already acted upon by many social and economic forces that do not stop investing in innovation, relationships and sharing. Feelings that are a demand for freedom, security, peace, progress, justice, a future for their communities, which pushes many to fight again for European values and achievements and demands programs and policies that are up to this demand.
Europe is not truly an accident of history nor a geographical appendix, but an extraordinary political project still capable of relaunching a great agenda of hope for the future, if we still understand the strength of the bet, the solidity of building ties and de facto solidarity. I talk about this and more in my recent book, published by the Feltrinelli Foundation, Making Europe, making peace. Reflections and provocations to avoid the collapse of the European project.

Luca Jahier
NP April 2024

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