Many people in the days and weeks to come, will speak of the celebrations held in Rome on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the European Union. There are those who will do so with renewed enthusiasm, and who will continue to think that the celebrations are not enough to cheer up and encourage the most disillusioned by the consequences of choices, in primis financial, that do not take into consideration the needy of this drifting continent. I believe that the topic Europe will be at the centre of the greatest concern of all and for a very long time, unless illuminated and decisive solutions are not found soon.
Europe, the old continent or old world, as it was written in some ancient map dating to the years after the discovery of America, for better or for worse has a history of great colonization, in countries that were unknown up to those times. A history of navigators that in order to set sail to new worlds, challenged the Pillars of Hercules, the sea between Spain and Africa, currently known as the Strait of Gibraltar, so scary from the time of Homer to the Middle Ages, for the immense vastness of water, beyond which, nobody could imagine that there was something else.
Europe has always been a noble lady, steeped in culture, heritage of ancient and modern splendours, from Greece to the Roman Empire, crossing the Renaissance and the enlightenment until today. From Greece to the Ventotene Manifesto, which sanctioned the ideal of Europe, history has gone by, and from the founding fathers of the idea, many original concepts were messed around, to the advantage of a speculation on several fronts. There were many comments on this European Union, in recent years, and each one tried to understand whether this is still a time bomb ready to explode, or a financial fortress with solid foundations.
Economists of worldwide fame, Nobel prizes, including Krugman, Friedman or Stiglitz, provided us with conflicting theories on Europe and the Euro.
Before tackling the present, it would be a good and intelligent thing to return to analyse the Ventotene Manifesto, the wording of which began in 1941, thanks to the work of great Italian anti-fascists, as Altiero Spinelli, Ernesto Rossi and Eugenio Colorni, exiled in the island Pontina, where they laid the foundations of what would be the Europe of our days.
The original design was opened to a united Europe, where each person would have had to live free from any mental and economical subjection, without exploited nor exploiters. Over time, instead, international financial alliances, have betrayed, in part, the foundress ethics, to allow space for the construction of a more precarious society, that is making all of us weaker, resigned and consenting to decisions of many parvenu politicians, that are more brilliant in showing their face everywhere than in operating.
Spinelli, Rossi and Colorno, in that small island of the Tyrrhenian Sea, had lot of time to think of the ambitious project of a united Europe, but since then, we came a long way and the European establishment, has moved, too often, in the opposite direction to the Manifesto.
In recent years, more than the continent of citizens, Europe became the continent of banks, of multinationals and of blackmails to governments, in the name of an austerity that should balance budgets. Europe became global, risking to flatten the differences of each individual nation that, for their culture, have also determined the true strength of the post-war period. United yes, not in the homogenisation, but in diversity.
I start by saying that I am a convinced Europeanist, which believes in the European Union and in cooperation between peoples and cultures. But this cannot prevent anyone to detect and criticize what wrong and unfair Europe embodies. The representatives of the 27 countries composing the Union, Saturday 25 March, gathered in Rome to present the new Treaty of Rome. 66 lines of broad understandings, for Europe not to surrender nor disintegrate.
66 lines signed in the hall of the Horatii and Curiatii in Campidoglio; the same place where the true giants of politics of the 6 founding countries, in 1957, signed so that the beloved old continent, could build a solid and prosperous future, starting from that masterpiece of ideal of Europe, which was the Ventotene Manifesto.
The signature was not painless. It was achieved after a few obstacles and difficulties on the part of States such as Greece and Poland, that until the last moment threatened not to give their ok, expressing reservations about parts of the text and on the two-speed Europe. A clear demonstration that someone among the leaders, begins to express doubts and concerns.
There is no disrespect in observing, with critical spirit, some aspects of this anniversary.
It should be said that Europe must not be questioned in its concept of union, growth, exchanges, movement, democracy and freedom, but must be changed in its way of proceeding, insisting on the need to review especially fiscal strictness, improving welfare, and investing on employment.
The opening speeches, in Campidoglio, of the main representatives of the European government, focused on rhetoric and sentimentality, without transmitting a significant shock of the listeners. Perhaps we expected more hints for concrete solutions.
What makes Europe unique and wonderful, is its continental unity in the diversity of each individual state.
The languages, the history, the different traditions of the 27 states, are potential that the rest of the world envies us, but we Europeans have managed to make them become fixed values even before the more rooted globalisation. Many are now those believing that our differences will be our strength, if only we will be able to put aside our nationalism and our arrogance.
Thanks to the European Union, for decades we have managed to maintain peace, democracy and freedom, like Europe never lived in centuries. But it is not enough, we need much more. Every nation cannot always continually feel under examination by the first of the class, they need to fly without brakes and fears, and they need safeguards for their national economies. The euro cannot be the sword of Damocles, the condicio sine qua non in many situations.
With the signature of Saturday, at least the European self-belief resists, still on paper, but the old continent absolutely does not come out strengthened. “Europe of after Brexit must still find its road” warned Muscat, the Maltese premier and president of the European Union.
I would like to conclude with a thought expressed by Spinelli during a speech in the European Parliament that should warn us all.
“The ability to fail must always be accepted at the beginning of a path.
One should always feel the value of an idea, even before its eventual success.
This is also demonstrated by the ability to rise even from one’s own bankruptcy.
Whoever starts a company, does it in order to give something of himself to his contemporaries, to himself or to noboby. At the beginning, we cannot really know if we will work for ourselves, for our children, or for a future generation.
What counts is to Believe on it”