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Survivors of Mars

ma.hu - 09 mai, 2005
Article
Hajnalka Vincze

The theses on the (alleged) powerlessness of Europe and on the (supposedly) benevolent (self-proclaimed) omnipotence of the United States reveal a profound ignorance.

They neglect - in addition to the facts themselves – the major motivations and the inherent purposes of the European construction. The essence of the integration project can only be apprehended by taking into account the particular circumstances of its birth: the widespread determination of "never again". Europeans, far from having something in common with Venus, are the survivors of Mars: they learned some eminently instructive lessons from their pre-1945 history. As Robert Schuman put it: two world wars showed us that the best guarantee for our security lies in solidarity. The European concept of solidarity includes three aspects: interior solidarity (social justice, exercise in common of sovereignty, regional cohesion), external solidarity (multilateralism, development, humanitarian assistance) and solidarity between generations (safeguarding the environment and natural resources). Integration itself is but - to take the words of Jacques Delors - "the laboratory of the management of interdependences". Its postulate is what one could call organized self-restraint. In fact, according to Jean Monnet: "The union of Europe cannot be based on good will alone. Rules are needed. The tragic events we have lived through and are still witnessing may have made us wiser. But men pass away; others will come and take our place. We cannot bequeath them our personal experience. That will die with us. But we can leave them institutions. The life of institutions is longer than that of men: if they are well-built, they can accumulate and hand on the wisdom of succeeding generations." In the European conception, collective power comes from the exercise in common of sovereignty. Hence the importance attached to various co-operative structures. According to Christopher Patten: “The skills that the EU is developing to manage its own affairs are enormously relevant to a world that is still struggling to evolve an economic, legal and political framework to contain the passions of states and to channel globalization in beneficent directions.” Obviously, there is an enormous abyss between the rhetoric on sustainable security (based on internal, external and inter-generation solidarity) and the current practice of the Union. But it would be useless to go into the details because this abyss is merely a syndrome: it is the sign of the chronic lack of political will necessary to preserve inside and assume outside the European model inherited from the Founding Fathers. The irresponsibility of today’s elites leaves perplexed. It evokes the remarks of Paul-Henri Spaak who once said: "We are impassive, as if history would wait, as if we had time on our side to change our mindset, as if we had eternity before us." Our amnesia is only matched by our short-sightedness.

Full text in Hungarian.


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