One of the oldest tales told to children is that of the little shepherd boy who regularly cried “Wolf!” in amusement at the disruption it caused in the village, whose inhabitants always ran to his aid. Until the day, when, tired of his constant games the villagers did not go to help him, although his cries were then in earnest. The little shepherd boy was devoured by the wolf.
The leaders of Europe, who warn of the implosion of the European project, should take note of this tale. Indeed what a paradox it is when someone in a position of responsibility should make comment as he or she were watching a football match from the stand or even better, in front of the television!
The same thing has happened again with the British negotiation, which is said to be weakening the Union. With everyone calling for the strengthening of the integration of the euro zone and the continent, without making any suggestions – even small ones – in this obvious direction. The same applies to the refugee crisis. And the situation is even more serious when it comes to the defence of Europe. Everyone is calling for a European leap forward, but rare are those who really gauge the threats that weigh over the security of our continent, both on our borders and from afar.
And yet the citizens, who are much wiser than their elites, have understood that although the solutions might be European, these still have to be demonstrated, i.e. implemented. And yet nothing is happening. Given the many challenges it has to overcome, the continent’s integration will only be able to move forward according to the example set. Let those who are demanding change in the way European affairs are conducted – and some are justified – start by showing the way. Naturally, we think here of the Franco-German couple, which is quietly managing an appeased relationship without even noticing the gulf that is growing between the two countries. Unless the countries’ two leaders, who have to communicate constantly, draw closer together, the withdrawal towards national interests, which is affecting the Union’s members already, will also affect them in the end.
Europe has to get back on course, agree on a vision that it should put to the citizens and stop doing politics that “go with the flow”, as and when crises occur, according to the same old song. It will be difficult to get all 28 on board, but with a few, the chances of success would be better chance, and it would be easier with two. We know what has to be done: avoiding the loss of the acquis whilst respecting identities, which means changing habits without throwing the treaties in the bin – as with a computer, we can change the software without throwing the machine out; stemming the present wave of mass immigration, whilst accepting those who really need international protection because of war – which means managing the external frontiers to prevent the erection of internal borders. Finally we have to guarantee Europe’s security by investing massively in defence, so whilst not employing it, we are prepared to do what is necessary. However this is more an issue for the States than for any of the European institutions.
These are what seem to be the urgent issues of the moment. The rest – all of it – even the things that might seem important, are but secondary.