The actual creation of the E.U., was one of the most brilliant ideas ever conceived by a human mind in the history of the last 70 years.
Europe, a continent where many evidences show that it is the place that the first modern human inhabited, has suffered from lengthy and extremely unnecessary “turbulences” throughout its history.
Partly because of different cultures and partly because of the struggle to grasp the lead of the continent, Europe found itself in the middle of a great storm several times in the past.
Some great fathers of us (1)(2)(3)(4), curved the path that we are walking today, by their idea to unite this continent into a Union composed by its States, creating what we today call, the European Union.
To be able to understand what we have today, one must consider this continent 80 years ago when Europe was torn apart and then again 40 years ago, that someone could visit Bonn, but not Berlin because of this wall surrounding it from side to side (5). These memories though can not be enough, if one thinks that as back as 20 years ago visiting another State, was not possible without undergoing all these lengthy processes of passport issuings and then again all these tiring and mind boggling moments that one was into, by having to calculate the equivalences of a local currency before purchasing an item in another State.
These examples themselves though, are still not enough in order to fully understand the beauty of the multiculturalism, different lifestyles, traditions or different ways to say “Hello” (6) of this place that we call home today.
A beauty such as that, does create a question indeed when trying to give an explanation, or an answer to the so-called “E.U. Paradox” (7).
Some might say that a question such as that, can be found on the broader “sphere” of Social Sciences and more specifically on this part of it that certain scientists tend to call “Hard Problems” (8).
Giving a single-word-answer to such a question, seems and in fact is relatively difficult.
Examining such problems, in which the parameters involved are far more than a dozen and then adjusting all these to a formula that will give a single solution that will be the common answer for all 28 States, seems anything that an easy task.
The fact that different States have different legislations, hierarchies, distributions of power, differences in between their Constitutions, or form of Government (Constitutional Monarchy, Parliamentary Democracy etc) (9), but beyond that the overall structure of each of the National Parliaments of them (Percentage of Conservative, Socialist, Green Parties etc) affect in a considerable degree the decisions that can be taken by the States, that will ultimately turn a small, moderate, or large percentage of the State’s population, for, or against the E.U., or even simply make its citizens indifferent for it.
These, as well as a number of other factors such as the affiliation that people of several States have for their culture, local traditions, the fact that they deny to have what they perceive as a “Super-Institution” capable to define their lives (10), or simply a competition of leadership models (11) encountered in several geographical regions within the E.U., have unfortunately turned a number of E.U.’s citizens to be rather indifferent for this place which is Our House (12), this place that we can call “Home”.
As it can be clearly seen, the obstacles to overcome the “E.U. Paradox”, are as many, or even a lot more than the factors that define it. It can be said then, that it does not seem to be an easy task. Complex Problems, can have simple, or complex solutions, solutions that can be applied within a day, or take its time until their success will be visible.
The issue here though, is that there could be States whose overall percentage of population that can not overcome the “E.U. Paradox” is by far larger than in other, because of the above mentioned reasons. Simply said, participating more in the E.U. processes and enjoying all of its benefits might be a “huge leap” for these populations.
Life has always been such though, that beautiful and unpleasant moments, easy and difficult times are there for all of us. This applies to everyone. From a King and a Prime Minister, to a scientist, or a person working just to manage to cover enough for leaving.
The positive aspect though, is that most problems have a solution. Humans can run, or dance, but some months after birth, are still walking on hands and knees. It was in 1961, that man stepped his feet on the moon for the first time (13). It all started though, after that initial form of an airplane (14) that some decades later was capable to cross the Atlantic. It is this very narrative that can give an answer to our question as well.
The day that we will have hundreds of reasons that unite us but only a few that would not even be able to keep us apart, might look too far ahead.
This day will come though.
Those of us that believe and try to achieve this virtuous goal, would rather stay united.
With dignity, with hope, with humility and the belief that we only have to continue following the same path that was curved by our fathers in order to shape a tomorrow, that will be even better than today.
Our Future is ahead of us.
We just need to make “One Step at a Time”.
Written by: Panagiotis A. Xenos Kokoletsis
1. Schuman Project – http://www.schuman.info/
2. Max Kohnstamm – http://www.montesquieu-institute.eu/9353000/1/j9vvj72dlowskug/viljkmt8ahyn
4. Chancellor Adenauer – http://www.kas.de/wf/en/71.3717/
5. The Berlin Wall – http://www.berlin.de/mauer/index.en.html
6. Council of Europe, European Day of Languages : “Hello”- http://edl.ecml.at/LanguageFun/Hello/tabid/1876/language/en-GB/Default.aspx
7. Definition of E.U. Paradox, Professor Dr. Alemanno – http://www.mooctivity.com/blog/2014/03/20/understanding-europe-why-it-matters-and-what-it-can-offer-you-meet-professor/
8. Harvard University, F.A.S. Division of Social Science, Hard Problems in Social Science – http://socialscience.fas.harvard.edu/hardproblems
9. LiveScience : “What Are the Different Types of Governments?”- http://www.livescience.com/33027-what-are-the-different-types-of-governments.html
10. Euro Myths, Pro Europa : “The E.U. is always telling us what to do”- http://proeuropa.org.uk/twelevereasons/euro-myths/
11. GROVEWELL LLC, The Globe Project : ” The Ten “Societal Clusters” and Number of Societies in Each”- http://www.grovewell.com/pub-GLOBE-intro.html
12. College of Europe : “Our House”- https://blog.coleurope.eu/2013/05/13/our-house/
13. N.A.S.A. : “The First Person on the Moon”- http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/first-person-on-moon.html
14. Airplanes, Flight : “The history of the airplane and flight”- http://inventors.about.com/od/fstartinventions/a/Airplane.htm