Europe is a peculiar entity! It is an ailing would-be super state with a deep identity crisis, which does not know where it wants to go and what its place is in the world. In the current geopolitical arena, it is impossible to talk about a European superpower, or at the very least an international actor, as we do for the United States, China, Russia and so on. Yet Europe has a vital microcosm inside itself – a variety of cultures, civilizations, giants that have made made and shaped our planet’s history.
The Great Role of Europe
For ages, the Old Continent was the center of the World. It gave our planet irreplaceable art, science, fair laws, and a political system — democracy — that most countries yearn to implement. The Greek and Roman philosophers of antiquity, the warrior-kings of the Middle Ages, the Christian faith and its teachings, traditions, food and ways of life, are all studied and followed today all over the world. Europe had empires that conquered the world, from Alexander the Great, to the Romans, to Napoleon to the British Empire.
On the other side, Europe was the battlefield of fierce and bloody wars, fought for conquest, petty rivalries and ideological differences. It is also the continent of deeply unfair decisions, absolutist rulers, terrible massacres, behind-the-scenes deals and arrangements among certain countries that hurt and destroyed others. It is the continent of rivalries that run so deep, that even after centuries they have not been forgotten.
It has been the continent of profound contrasts, of pride and prejudice, of magnificent achievements and deserved failures, of generosity and mercilessness. Thus, in a word, it was alive! Yet, for some time now, Europe has slowly been losing its relevance. It is withering away and living with an oxygen mask.
Europe 70 Years Ago
Seventy years ago, at the prospect of fading away as the new superpowers of the United States and USSR were dividing the World between them, many saw this was the fate Europe was heading towards. Thus, they decided that the path forward would be a common market, a United Nations of Europe, trading without tariffs or barriers, fighting for no land, and cooperating on their security. Men of great wisdom understood that to keep the world stable and fight off the threats of communism and any other evil that would emerge, a strong European continent in collaboration with the US was necessary. These two pillars today are more needed than ever. Yet, Europe is divided and weakened. Those great leaders have been succeeded by lesser men. Greed and vanity have replaced farsightedness and courage.
During the past decades, the inescapable mistake has been to try and transform Europe into a political union, with a common government eliminating all that make it special: its diversity. Worse, everyone has been led to believe that it is necessary and what the founding fathers had wanted. So, in the pursuit of this fantasy, unelected bureaucrats have been trying to substitute national identities with a European one. That is why Europe is dying. Imagine stripping a human being of his identity, of his history, tradition, culture and his roots. That person would be nothing but a faceless ghost wandering around aimlessly. That person would also be susceptible to others’ orders, having no will of its own. Europe has been led deceitfully down this road.
The error many make is to believe that the national and European identities are mutually exclusive. However, one can be Italian, German, Spanish or French and European at the same time. Europe’s value added is in its various identities and cultures. It is its history that makes it valuable today, with the lessons learned from wars, betrayals, failures, defeats and also magnificent achievements. There will always be a sense of kinship among the peoples of Europe. No political Union has forced it. This kinship has been gradually and naturally built throughout the centuries, despite of wars and conflict.
During the past few decades, a false Europe has been created, replacing its authentic virtues and remaining blind to its own vices. By trying to transform Europe into something that it is not, by imposing on it a hypocritical multiculturalism and by trying to make it part of a global community, the bureaucrats working for agendas set in the corridors of power have condemned the Old Continent to asphyxiation. Those that lead Europe today, through their actions, have proven that they repudiate all that is European. It is the only logical reasoning that explains why they want to destroy Europe and substitute it with a tyrannical utopia. It is also what can explain decades of wrong economic policies that have impoverished a considerable proportion of the continent.
Many have tried to rule Europe and, in the end, they have all failed, because we as Europeans try in vain to repeat an unsuccessful model: that of absolute monarchies. That is why the project to forcefully unite the continent in a political way will always fail. In contrast, the reason Britain’s system has succeeded is because it has rejected Continental Europe’s model, choosing instead freedom of expression, representation and strong institutions. The British, and the Americans, have understood that being ruled upon goes against human nature, which yearn to be free to pursue its own aspirations.
Furthermore, any comparison with the US is wrong. The United States was born out of a desire for freedom. The War for Independence is the only fair revolution because it was driven by a desire of freedom, instead of conquest or power. It was not to overthrow a regime or to depose a ruler. The founding fathers of the US fought against taxation without representation. In Europe, currently, we actually have taxation without representation, a detached elite and an unsustainable economic system. George Washington was given the chance to be a King, and he chose to help build a Republic. In Europe, everyone now wants to rule, from Brussels, Berlin or the Elysée Palace, through unelected bureaucrats who push for agendas that have no relation to the needs and desires of the citizens. Thus, Europe has been led astray from the visions of Schuman, Monnet, De Gasperi and Adenauer.
The EU’s Future is Not Looking Good
Unless it changes course, Europe will be crushed by its enormous debt, choked by over-taxation and buried by Brussel’s bureaucrats pushing for a globalization without identity and socialist ideas. It is still in time to heal itself. It needs responsible governments that will restore the EU countries dignity, history and tradition. The EU needs to make a complete overhaul of its institutions. Nobody that is in a position to take decisions should be unelected, otherwise they are unaccountable, increasing the propensity for abuse. There can never be a United States of Europe in the style of the USA, because when the United States were created the differences, the culture and the history between the members was not as different between European nations. It is just as unimaginable, unachievable and unsustainable as a world government.
However, there can be a confederate of sovereign European nations of an economic nature, without trade tariffs, with a common market, with fairness and reciprocity between each other. The nation state has always been a part of the identity of Europe. As the nations have become stronger and wealthier, so has the cooperation increased and the shared European identity strengthened. Nations that value democracy, individual dignity and rights, protect and ensure freedom of thought, expression and religion, guarantee low taxation, far less bureaucracy and regulation, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. Reforms should be implemented to reduce substantially the burden of debt, pursuing balanced budgets, freeing the individuals’ entrepreneurial spirit and encouraging their investments.
How Can Europe Survive and Prosper?
This way Europe can rise to the challenges of our century and lead together with the United States of America, just as it did during the last century, through cooperation and innovation. Europe should be decentralized on matters of a national nature, with each country free to decide the policies that affect the everyday lives of its citizens, but cooperate closely on matters of security and trade, with a common free market.
This chaotic leftist Europe resembles the Soviet Union of the 1980s, when it was gradually nearing its end. A Europe in such a state is of no use to anyone who seeks a world in which the balance of power remains in the West. It is up to the citizens of each country to vote for worthy successors to Schuman, Adenauer, De Gasperi, Churchill or Thatcher that will make sure a prosperous Europe lead for the next century.
Let us hope that in the next anniversary, 70 years after, we have a strong united Europe of nations, true to its real identity.