Now that the spring season is coming to an end and we enter into the next phase of seasonal life, with the blossoms billowing from the trees carried on the sweet scented air that marks the run up to the summer, my mind turns to what can be stated as the greatest political achievement of all time.
Spring is about the rebirth of life and new beginnings, hopefully this is can be true of Europe Day. Lately the air of European scent sadly hasn’t been so sweet, it has been tainted with a whiff of unpleasant anti-European breath being spilt forth from the venomous mouths of the anti EU brigade. These scoffing naysayers like to claim that all that is beautiful about the Union of Europe is nothing but idealistic nonsense. European sceptics state that what we claim as European values are only a theoretic dogma that has nothing to do with reality and that the economic crises around the world and the increasing financial instability only reinforces this. Despite the tide of anti EU sentiment I declare myself a proud European and will now state why you should also believe in what could be, and will be, the leading light of world peace, prosperity and justice.
As a Romanian I have been able to experience and discover this glorious continent at freewill since my country’s accession to the European Union in 2007, in this time I have learned so much about its amazing cultures and beautiful cities which had lead me to learn more about the world and also about myself. The Erasmus scholarships have been an incredible step for Romanian education, which have taken the whole Romanian educational system to a new level. The “European Structural Funds” have been used to develop deprived regions without which many Eastern European countries would still be struggling on the disastrous economic fallout of communist rule. EU funds have been used to open up trade, initiate true democracy and bring economic stability to the region. Free trade and removal of non-tariff barriers have helped reduce costs and prices for consumers, making it possible to enhance trade and increase the exchange of goods across European borders. The enhanced protection of immigration workers has been brought about through the EU initiated “European Working Time Directive” which is designed toprotect workers from exploitation by employers and give them the same rights all across Europe. All in all a new democratic path has been laid for the post-communist countries of Eastern European.
A country’s values are the definition of its destiny
On the 9th of May we celebrate Europe day and the foundation of the European Council on 5th of May 1949, but why? We celebrate it for the advancement of peace in the most war ravaged place in history, celebrating the transformation of a continent into a new enlighten prosperous future, springing like a phoenix from its darkened heart into a new light of unity and progress. New ways of thinking and working together have occurred to bring about change and transformation, some changes have been more successful than others, though all of have paved the way for something greater.
Work towards the ideal whilst working with the reality
As a PhD student in History many times I have asked myself if there is such a thing as true democracy. I wonder how much European values have changed the perception of Romanian citizens and whether the European Union is capable of overseeing the immense structural changes that are happening in the political arena and whether it’s capable of dealing once and for all with economic storm that has engulfed the continent. I find it hard to square my understanding of being a European citizen with the intolerance and discrimination I have faced in other countries as a Romanian. Though ultimately I know there is a clear question to all these questions. There is no such thing as a perfect society. There is no perfect organisation because we have human frailties, we are humans that make human mistakes and have selfish sentiments. All we can do is work within the framework of our human weakness, working towards the future ideal whilst working with the present reality. The European Union may not be perfect and may have many flaws which derive from its own nature, but ultimately we look to the glory that can be beholden from its concept. The ideal of one Union built by peace working together for the greater good of mankind and there is nothing more powerful than that.
Recognising the advancement of freedom because of the EU
Whatever we hold as sacred or valuable to man is subject to error based upon bias. What matters the most is to find the least biased government formula which can improve other people’s lives and I think that the European Union from the outset of its foundation has tried to do this. Some aspects of the EU may have failed, but more have been a resounding success. Success is usually based upon the paradigm of the times that we live in. Without looking to new ways of advancing the world we cannot achieve a greater paradigm shift for the better. So therefore we must consider the political and historical decisions that have influenced our past and the cultures that we live in.
I love Europe and I feel blessed to share the concept of European citizenship with fellow Europeans. If you don’t believe in Europe or what it stands for or strives to achieve I ask you to consider this. Do you recognise that being able to travel, study and work within the territory of the European Union without restriction is due to the EU. That European values have at their core freedom and democracy, and that without the EU pushing these ideals the world loses out and we stand smaller because of it.
We will never be politically correct and we will always judge others through our own cultural paradigms. The European identity is about people, about beliefs and about what makes us who we are. The European Union is about shared values and principles and about what we want our continent to become. There is a young generation of Europeans who can and will change things. It’s a new generation of people who want to travel, to study abroad, who want to speak more than one language, who want real freedom and want to advance beyond the limitations of their parents’ generation.
This new generation of people will put into practice the European values that make us great and through the practice of these values will succeed and drive Europe forward, they know who they are and what they want to be. It’s time for Europe to stand up and recognise who they are. Part of the greatest union of nations that the world has ever seen, Europe combines the world’s most powerful economy with the capability to be the world’s strongest power. Europe knows from its horrific history that a new time has come, a time for peace and for the integration of mankind.
It’s a new beginning with this Europe day. It’s a time for the blossoming trees, the blossoming of peace and the blossoming of unity. The time is now for us all to stand up and take hold of the destiny that is within our grasp.