Friday, 3 January 2014

Stand up to defend Europe’s heart!

In an op-ed in today's New York Times, Beppe Servergnini, a former correspondent for The Economist in Italy, writes about his 97 years old father who "adores the European Union", but who "is in a minority these days", as "anti-Europe parties are gathering momentum across the continent".

"The list is long", says Severgnini:

Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement in Italy. Nigel Farage’s U.K. Independence Party. Alternative for Germany. The Danish People’s Party. True Finns. The Sweden Democrats. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders’s Party for Freedom. In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Front.

As the Eurobarometer, which monitors the European public opinion, shows that a record 60 per cent of Europeans "tend not to trust the EU",
The European Commission is worried. […] But rekindling enthusiasm for Europe with new banking regulations, which is where the big focus within the union lies today, is like attempting to boost libido by reading the instructions on a packet of condoms: possible, perhaps, but something of a challenge.
All bleak on the European front, then? Not necessarily. If a political storm is on its way, that is good news: Europe needs a good fright to find its courage. The European Union functions by transforming fear into energy. When things go quiet, Europeans tend to sit back and bellyache.
Now another Europe-bracing scare looms. Those Euroskeptic parties are likely to do well in European parliamentary elections in May, which will serve to concentrate minds. Do we care about Europe? Then let’s say so, loud and clear.
The so-called Erasmus generation […] have a duty, and a privilege, to stand up for Europe.
It cannot be left to Ukrainians protesting in favor of integration with the West, or Africans risking their lives on rickety migrant boats, to tell us that Europe is a nice place to live because the rule of law is upheld and its welfare-protected citizens can enjoy agreeable cities set in lovely countryside. We take all this for granted, but we shouldn’t.
In 1919 William Butler Yeats wrote, in The Second Coming, that “the best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.” Anti-Europeans are not necessarily evil people, yet their passion is driven by regrettable intentions. They are out to dismantle what we, and our parents, have put together.
My father, who is older than Yeats’s poem, has seen Europe disunited and united. That’s why he likes the European Union, and he won’t give it up without a fight.


  1. "because the rule of law is upheld"

    Neither the 3% stability rule nor the No Bailout Clause have been upheld. The best thing that can happen to the "so called" Anti-Europeans is the hypocrisy of their enemies.

  2. Anti-Europeans (EU) will get the skin of Europe, it's obvious now, unless a miracle happens. The real question is what kind of cataclysm it will trigger.? Anti-Immigrationists want blood, it's also obvious. Stopping the flow won't be enough for them. Sooner or later they will turn to the second and third generation,s with the embedded rights any dominant force thinks being empowered with. Northern countries will build walls, keeping southern favelas from spreading onto their soil. Migrants and second or third generation immigrants, who survived, will become the main trading goods. I don't know yet in which direction. The qualified ones to the north and the rest to the south agaisnt some financial compensation, may be. In the south, constitutional righs will be sold to investors from the BRICS for a few hard currency bank notes while people will find themselves working like their ancestors from the middle ages, bending and diying for a yes or a no. Their present systems have failed already and without a unity of nations, unless these countries abolish money, which actually would catapult them to the stone age rapidly, their chances to go through this century with pride and dignity is higly in jepopardy. But as a famous movie character said once: live and let die.

    1. I don't understand why people have to see anti-immigration supporters are sorts of blood thirst savages living in another dimension and hoping for deaths, deportations of new forms of gas chambers. The issue here is not revenge or hatred but simply creating a sustainable form of immigration that doesn't threaten national interests and at the same time allows immigrates to better integrate and minimize risks of non integration. The fact people like me don't share anything of the current multicultural model DOES NOT mean in any possible sense that i hate or despise or consider immigrants as inferior or else. I simply think, advisely, that this immigration model fails to satisfy both natives and immigrants. Natives expect a minimum impact on their jobs, social costs, and cultural issues, while immigrants would expect fair treatment, opportunities and integration. Can we say this model has worked? No! I also support an approach that stops immigration through development of their countries, based on the assumption there isn't better home than your own. This comes from someone living abroad and constantly exposed to a multicultural environment as you know.

    2. It's simple, you represent a minority observer. Your arguments, at least on this post, can be argued peacefully as you're pointing what you consider a problem without hatred. Be aware than in a country like France, not to mention the Netherlands or Belgium, these growing number of supporters dare openly to go farther in their speeches towards migrants. 10 years ago, 1 out 20 people would talk about immigration in your terms around me, now it's 6 out of 10 (my count). Most of the time, they have no clue about why and how this process took place, by the way. They're just afraid to lose their supremacy. And you don't have to push them anymore to ear what are their solutions. Stopping the flow is just the cherry on the cake. They want to deal with the official 7 millions Arabs and Sub-Saharians they consider to be a threat to peace and harmony. They're even afraid that the FN they've supported, now a major political force, would act just like any other parties and therefore would betray their original claims. Because many of these people are racists and already feel invaded, civil war as a mean to get rid physically of the problem comes out from their mouths too often these days. If you address the problem in a political way, most of these supporters don't.

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  4. Talked like a true elitist. The Erasmus kids are a minority in the minority that are higher education students. But you have to grab what little you have to show. That semester abroad, though, was payed for by the parents not Brussels. Otherwise they wouldn't be so few. I'm sure both generations are very thankful for not having jobs

  5. It is amazing to see how everyone criticizes European Union (EU, not "Europe", which is a Continent, not a political entity) is defined as an "anti-Europe".
    Like in URSS, where every criticism was considered as coming from the "enemies of the people".
    This is an old story. Some hundred European and pro-UE economists criticized in the early '90 the euro build-up, and they was attacked by the establishment as "anti-Europe".
    So, every euro-critic party is now accused to be racist, because they are "anti-immigrant".
    Every one should think to this trivial truth: every immigrant is also at the same moment an emigrant. This is like 2+2=4, or something * 1 = something.
    So let think to the emigrant side of the problem, and see what happened in Italy to his south, the "Mezzogiorno" (ehin, Severgnini, do you forgot the lyrics?), where a lot of people emigrated to USA and then to the north of Italy, which was in the beginning of the second after-war plenty of depressed zones, more depressed that the worse zones in the south.
    The Mezzogiorno was depleted of its active population, desertificated to such a point of its human resources (the only true resources of a people) that the degradation is now irreversible.
    Instead of helping immigrants/emigrants in developing their own countries/regions, more: destroying their economies like in Latvia, EU pushes peoples to emigrate.
    UE isn't like USA. Labour mobility doesn't have the same consequences everywhere and every-time.
    The unregulated immigration/emigration is the new slave trade. Thank UE for such a progress.

    Let me take this opportunity to give my best new-year whishes to Viviane Reding: thousands of such days for you, Mrs Reding! You need such a long time to understand what you are doing in your life.

  6. Ça y est la traduction fonctionne bien ! et en plus elle traduit les commentaires : Youpi !
    J'ai l'impression que pour l'auteur, il y a les europhiles et les eurosceptiques = anti-U.E.. Or on peut être sceptique, sans être anti. On critique pour améliorer, non pour détruire !