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11th November: A European Lesson

70 heads of State and government, who met in Paris, celebrated the centenary of the end of the First World War.

The first total war of the 20th century claimed more than 20 million lives and ruined the countries of Europe. But this did not stop them starting again twenty years later. The last European war set the planet ablaze and took 60 million souls.

As we consider the history of Europe, we are right to wonder: the urge to hate or a death wish, is it the act of war consubstantial to human society? If this is the case and at this rate, the next one might cost nearly 500 million lives ...!

The only true attempt to break peacefully from the implacable logic of confrontation between States has been the European Union. This is why despite its imperfections, its inadequacies, and even its failures, the people of Europe are attached to it and with just one exception - which is now already a regret - no one wants to leave it.

Europeans are well placed to explain to the world the bloody path they have travelled before privileging cooperation, dialogue and the rule of law over confrontation and power struggles. Their duty is now to convince others by continuing and making a success of the European project. To do this a long road lies ahead, but a great deal has already been done. The images we have of this 11th November 2018 prove this.