TIME TO FIGHT FOR EUROPE

"What has happened to you, the Europe of humanism, the champion of human rights, democracy and freedom? What has happened to you, Europe, the home of poets, philosophers, artists,
musicians, and men and women of letters?" he asked. "What has happened to you, Europe, the mother of peoples and nations, the mother of great men and women who upheld, and even sacrificed their lives for, the dignity of their brothers and sisters?"

Fri May 6, 2016 11:43am: Pope Francis

 
"The fight for Europe's soul is continuing", say Merkel and Hollande on Verdun anniversary 29 May 2016
Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel make impassioned plea for European unity: “Our sacred destiny is written in the ravaged soil of Verdun,” the French president said. “It can be stated in a few words: we should love our country, but we should protect our common home, Europe, without which we would be exposed to the storms of history.

Mr Hollande stressed that the European Union was built “on the principle of the free movement of people and goods,” but in a clear reference to the British referendum, he said “the forces of division” threatened what he called “the most vast community of democratic countries, a reference for so many nations.” He said he stood shoulder to shoulder with the German chancellor against “disenchantment, which has given way to rancour, and for some, rejection or even separation. We are side by side to tackle the challenges of today and first of all the future of Europe, because, as we know disappointment was followed by disenchantment, and after doubts came suspicion, and for some even rejection or break-up," Hollande said at Sunday's ceremony.

Mrs Merkel urged EU member-states “not to close in on yourselves, but to remain open to each other”. Her government’s decision to take in more than a million migrants last year was severely criticised by her political opponents, but Mrs Merkel said: “If we reason only in national terms, we will not be able to progress. This is true for managing Europe’s debt crisis, and also for welcoming refugees. In the European Union we will continue to have different views on certain issues," Merkel said, adding "that is in the nature of things but it will prove beneficial if we demonstrate our ability to compromise to reach an agreement. Europe has problems but Europe has also managed to do a lot and it has come a long way. In a world of global challenges it is important to develop Europe further and to push through the changes that are necessary".

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Europe faces serious multiple crises that affect one another, dividing the Union in different ways. We deplore the lack of ability to engage member states in credible dialogues about Europe’s future. Confused feelings and radicalization attitudes, permeating European societies ask for the emergence of a
shared identity and destiny and a fitting supranational polity for facing current issues that go beyond nation states.

We bring this contribution to your attention at this critical junction in Europe’s history facing the choice: “desintegration in tribal fragments out of fear for the other” or “at the threshold of an inspired and concerted transition of the Union to a future of hope. This by ”ringing the bell” for a next round of unifying our continent. To this end we elaborate briefly on content, form, timing and setting of this “call to arms”. Last week, we have proposed a colloquium on the future, outlining principals for growth and consolidation:

Suggestions for outlining principles, addressing issues, stating positions and for “seeding” proposals for transition are defined below this message and in the manifesto:

  • "in a constructive perspective, in a hope-inspiring way, learning from history;
  • between two respected leaders Mrs. A.D. Merkel and Mr. D.W.D. Cameron, whose opinions weighs;
  • with an experienced chairman / moderator (e.g. Mr. A.M. Juppé);
  • supported by current rotating and commission Chairmanship;
  • before 23rd June next, aimed at an “UK opt-in”;
  • in e.g. Bruges, Belgium;
  • possibly issueing into a concluding proposition for the next directly voted EU-council presidency."

   
   
Europe must take stock of these developments and identify the forseeable consequences in the short and longer run. It should come up with proposals for the European Community to counter the effects and root causes of the multiple crises. Let’s value building the European future rather than blaming Brussels for loss of sovereignty and identity. It’s time to fight for our Europe. It’s ours to protect and build.

You can join by helping build the very essence of Europe, in need of value and meaning. That is never finished. It is an endeavor to pursue truth and justice. It should be taught in education and it is throughout our whole life.

Suggestions for outlining principles, addressing issues, stating positions and for “seeding” proposals for transition might be considered such as:

-       the Four Freedoms and the rule of law;
-       balancing the Trias Politica, to include media;
-       separation between organised religion and EU-governance;
-       (re)definition of EU-federalism and finality as well as sovereignty and subsidiarity;
-       (re)appraisal of the functioning of democratic decision making processes;
-       balancing original regional diversity and continental unity; towards a senate;
-       balancing universal human and European civil rights and duties;
-       fostering “feeling Europe” by initiating intra-EU “social conscription”;
-       channelling intra-EU migration and acculturation and of qualified non-Europeans;
-       experimenting with cross-european jumelage projects between region incorporating;
-       (re)arranging existing EU projects and “best practices” programs in platforms for EU-relaunch;
-       projecting needed changes in financing, budgeting, taxation;
-       EU-“Marshall Plan” for crisis areas; “Helsinki” and “Fulbright” type programs for debt redemption;
-       projecting needed EU-wide security arrangements e.g. border control, crime fighting, defence;
-       synchronising with other transitions such as climate-, energy-, communication, etc.

the rights
of citizens

a form of
government

Please feel free to write a feedback or to forward this call if you know someone who also might be interested. Dare to be a European; take the idea of a legitimate coordinating polity with delegated authorities and cherish diversity as a wealth.

Simply connect,  
 
E. (Erik) van der Kooij 
Director Feeling Europe Foundation
  
AM Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence (LU FGGA)
friend NEXUS Institute and The ASPEN Institute

member CEPS, relations The Atlantic
(WIF)

www.feelingeurope.eu | contribute@feelingeurope.eu

Feeling EUROPE fosters and guides European values and affairs to achieve more understanding and involvement with the aim to advance prosperity and wellbeing. For that purpose the desk promotes (knowledge about) European values and affairs, takes position as nexus between citizens, institutions, Europe, her identity and everything that is related in wider sense, mainly concerning cultural, philosophical and political fields. But also economical and technical fields are at stake. Furthermore, the desk does research work, delivers resonance and keeps up a website. The foundation is an outgrowth from the conferences 'Europe, Beautiful Idea' (5th) and 'The Sound of Europe'  
 
 Feeling EUROPE Foundation, established at Wassenaar 5-12-2007, Commercial Register The Hague number 27308610


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Fri May 6, 2016 11:43am: Pope rebukes 'weary' Europe, says migrants not criminals

Pope Francis on Friday lamented a Europe he said had grown "weary" and "entrenched", and urged the continent not to see migrants as criminals. Francis made his pointed comments in the presence of top EU leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and the presidents of the European Parliament, Commission and Council.

"What has happened to you, the Europe of humanism, the champion of human rights, democracy and freedom? What has happened to you, Europe, the home of poets, philosophers, artists, musicians, and men and women of letters?" he asked. "What has happened to you, Europe, the mother of peoples and nations, the mother of great men and women who upheld, and even sacrificed their lives for, the dignity of their brothers and sisters?"

The pope was speaking at a ceremony in the Vatican's frescoed Sala Regia to award him the Charlemagne Prize, conferred annually by the German city of Aachen to those who have contributed most to the ideals of post-war Europe. His comments pointed to a malaise at the heart of the European Union, which has wrestled with a long, divisive debt crisis and is struggling to absorb a vast influx of migrants and refugees, many fleeing conflicts such as Syria's civil war.

Francis called Europe "weary, yet still rich in energies and possibilities" and said it was "increasingly entrenched, rather than open to initiating new social processes capable of engaging all individuals and groups in the search for new and productive solutions to current problems." The Argentine, the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, said desire for European unity "seems to be fading" and that "those who consider putting up fences" were betraying the dream of the founders of a modern Europe.

"I dream of a Europe that cares for children, that offers fraternal help to the poor and those newcomers seeking acceptance because they have lost everything and need shelter ... I dream of a Europe where being a migrant is not a crime," he said.

Addressing the pope, European Parliament President Martin Schulz said the migrant crisis represented "a defining challenge for Europe." European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker noted that the pope, who has made numerous appeals for better treatment of refugees, returned from the Greek island of Lesbos last month with 12 Syrians. "When you take in 12 refugees — in proportion to the population of the Vatican, that is more than any EU member state — you fill our hearts with new courage," Juncker said.