Celebrating Europe’s day… or not?
May 9th, 2013
Today we celebrate Europe’s Day, but these days there seem to be few reasons to celebrate in Europe. The crisis is still biting hard, youth unemployment is a daily reality for 5,6 million Europeans under the age of 25, and growth seems a distant prospect.
So, can we celebrate in earnest, despite the clouds and the gloom? I would say, yes. We don’t need illusions to stay enthusiastic. We don’t need pink glasses to be optimistic. We don’t need to ignore the problems of today to recognise the achievements of the past and appreciate the opportunities of the future.
Yes, Europe is going through serious difficulties. And it’s not going to be easy. And we will have to give up some things that we long took for granted, and we will have to change to stay competitive in a world that is spinning faster and faster. But getting ourselves out of the crisis, growing again and living well within our means – these are all within our reach, if we work together.
And Europe is part of the solution. Without the actions it took since the beginning of the crisis, we would be in a far worse situation now. Without the potential of the single market and the sheer size of the European economy – one of the world’s largest trading blocs and a market with more than 500 million consumers – we would be stuck in the crisis for much longer. Only together we have a chance to compete and collaborate as equals with the US and China, with India and Brazil.
So, let’s remember that when the price solidarity is higher than normal, and when egoism knocks, we don’t need to open the door. After all, thanks to Europe, and despite all the problems we have, we still live in one of the world’s most secure, wealthiest, freest spots. My work as the Commissioner for crisis response has shown me the alternatives to that. And if you read the other stories on my blog, you will also be reminded that we, Europeans, have plenty to be proud of, and plenty of reasons to celebrate.
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