If it is what was in the news on this day, you will remember post-election anxiety. Greece is struggling to form a government, and analysts are all over the place guessing about France’s future. And about the future of the euro. And of Europe.
It was a celebration during anxious times, and I felt this all the way through this Europe’s Day: from my visit to the bTV studio, where questions on Europe’s future poured, through my participation, together with President Rossen Plevneliev and students at Sofia University, in an discussion titled “Is the European project exhausted?” to my conversations with my Facebook friends and other citizens I met in Sofia.
And this is happening in the country where support for Europe is the highest, and growing, according to the latest opinion polls of Eurobarometer. There is good reason for this support – Bulgarians feel the benefits of membership, from better laws to better roads.
If even in the most optimistic country people are questioning Europe’s success, what is the future of the European project? I am confident it will be positive and long-lasting. Not just because I want it to be so: sheer economic logic tells us that if we didn’t have the European Union, we’d be working hard to invent it. In the current economic climate, no small country stands a chance to prosper by itself and compete like rising giants like China, India and Brazil. For 7.5 Bulgarians, or even for 81.7 million Germans, to succeed on our own would be close to impossible.
So, Happy Birthday, Europe. You came to life to respond to struggles and difficulties of the past, and you will prevail and succeed through the struggles and difficulties of today.
How will I remember Europe Day 2012? As a day in which I was proud to be European – and unapologetic about it.