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What should Europeans be debating?

One year before the European elections

[This editorial is also available in Ukrainian.]

Emmanuel Macron surprised us by saying that European environmental regulations, already the most advanced in the world, should not be seen in isolation from the situation in other continents, at the risk of weakening the European economy.
He is right.

The Robert Schuman Foundation has already warned  of this problem.

With one year to go before the European elections, it is important to engage in debates that are commensurate with what is at stake for Europe. Everything indicates that, as usual, domestic politics will weigh heavily in the postures of national political parties. This is perhaps inevitable, but it would be a serious mistake to limit ourselves to this.

These are historic times for the European Union. The future of its nations, the prosperity of the continent and even its survival as a global player depend on its transformation.

The Union's economic policy deserves real and challenging debate. Its demography at half-mast (it is losing inhabitants), seems to explain its cautious policies. However, it must choose growth, i.e. risk and audacity, which challenges its budgetary and monetary policies.

Determined to be exemplary in environmental matters, it must not make itself the scapegoat for the planet's woes. It cannot carry the burden of the fight against global warming alone. Above all, it must consider how to make the transition a success.

Europeans love rules and regulations. We need them, but the success of the fight for the environment will depend first and foremost on the motivation and action of the players, companies, states and citizens.

From this point of view, the European Parliament must stop imposing bans, as it already does at every session, and consider more carefully how to encourage and support measures.

The impoverishment of the continent is indeed a real danger and therefore the rejection, by the citizens, of the necessary constraints of the climate fight. I personally suggested an in-depth reflection on the modes of action employed in view of facing up to the changes underway. It must be the subject of more serious debate.

Moreover, it is understandable that rapid scientific advances raise unprecedented ethical questions, such as artificial intelligence and the immense capacity to compensate for the physical deficiencies of the human race. These are complex issues on which Europe must remain exemplary, in the name of the values of freedom and human dignity.

Finally, guaranteeing Europe's survival means that it has to understand that it now has enemies who consider its model, its successes, its democracy and its values to be a danger to their dictatorial power. This is the case today with Russia; it will be the case tomorrow with other dictatorial regimes.

Europeans must know that there will be no lasting peace for them without the construction of a strong and credible defence and that they must play their full part in it, which is not the case today. And this has a price.

These are existential questions that will be debated during the campaign for the 2024 European elections. Why wait? We can start right now!

P.S: The Schuman Report on Europe - The State of the Union 2023 is the best reference for understanding everything about Europe.