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Can we celebrate Europe?

On 9th May we celebrate Europe

What do we have to celebrate? The memory of an act, Robert Schuman's declaration, prepared by Jean Monnet, which seemed insane at the time, but which brought peace back to a warring continent. It succeeded in rising to the challenge, surpassing the conservatism of that era to offer Europeans a new horizon - that of a United Europe. 62 years later, the results are there for us to see. We have rebuilt Europe; it is greatly changed, wealthier and has become the most prosperous continent in the world.

Today this memory is compelling. Twenty years on, bathing in the comfort of an appeased Europe that is slowly unifying, we are living beyond our means whilst the world is changing so fast- technologies are multiplying like the world population, leaving us in the minority. Unemployment, notably amongst the young, stagnation and recession, ageing populations, but also nervous self-withdrawal, extremism, the refusal to make any effort, worry, anguish - this is the face Europe shows the world today, 9th May 2012.

We would like to celebrate Europe, not only because of what it has brought us but especially for the promise it bears. But Europe is only what the Member States and its citizens make it. Right now they are hesitating; they hastily put together pacts and reforms without driving to the heart of the matter.

We shall have to wait until some courageous leaders have the audacity to launch the final act of real European integration, the only thing that will save us. Again, this will involve Germany and France. If in their quest to achieve growth, stability and prosperity they choose to join forces in their budgets, debts and economic policies, they will be worthy of  Hamilton who, in 1789 succeeded in creating a common Treasury for the American States that were divided and bankrupt - whose currency had lost most of its value. A federal leap forwards would not mean flight in the face of adversity, but the only logical result of everything that we have undertaken to date. It would protect us from future turbulence since we would be sharing our strengths, to take on our debts and pay them back together, to build the economy of tomorrow with the youngest, innovation and modernity.

It would be another revolution setting down a new page in the history of Europe that would last for at least fifty years. More than a celebration, it would mean hope.