Myth no. 1: National states are the right answer to the challenges presented by the 21st century
Implementing the international agreement on climate change, fighting Islamist terrorism, strengthening a stable global financial system, fostering peace in Syria and the Ukraine, handling the Syrian refugee crisis, imposing sanctions against Iran, Russia or North Korea, achieving a fairer income and wealth situation, shaping the digital transformation era and the fourth industrial revolution – none of these challenges can be mastered by one nation alone. International cooperation and close political coordination are absolutely necessary to master these challenges. The bodies of the European Union provide a very reasonable and democratic framework for reaching a common stance on the basis of the values and interests shared by all citizens of the Union. And no organization other than the Union is large enough to be really effective on a global scale. Its capability to act in terms of foreign policy may only have existed for a short time yet, but it has become considerably more powerful over the past few years. An individual national state would not be able to achieve the same results. What is more, even today, individual national states are already restricted by and bound to numerous international agreements and international law within and outside of the Union. More than ever, sovereignty has become relative in the 21st century. Absolute sovereignty, as postulated by British Brexit advocates, is an illusion. The world is developing on the basis of interdependencies.
There are days on which the lives of an entire generation hinge. Sometimes such days even shape an entire century.
July 28, 1914 was one such day. Back then, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. World War I started and Europe tore itself to pieces. European nations lost their role as global leaders which had been achieved during previous centuries. If Europe – if European nations and European citizens – fail to close ranks, it has dire consequences for all Europeans. This is one of the most important lessons learned from World War I. And even if our times are no longer about war and peace within Europe, this lesson could not be more topical.
May 9, 1950 was one such day, too; and it has left its mark on the lives of millions of people for more than half a century now. Back then, the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed the introduction of the “High Authority”, a joint supervisory body of Franco-German coal and steel production. The plan was the origin of our Union we know today and the High Authority developed to become the precursor of the European Commission. What a farsighted plan! And how it speaks of French generosity! Only five years after the end of World War II, only five years after Nazi Germany had razed the whole of Europe and half the world to the ground and had committed millions of murders. Back then, Robert Schuman said that it would not be possible to make Europe all at once, or according to a single plan. He explained that Europe would be built through tangible achievements which first created a de facto solidarity. He was right back then and still is. His statement could not be more topical, either.
June 23, 2016 also has the potential for becoming such a day. It is the day on which the British will decide on their membership of the European Union. That day might also turn out to be decisive for an entire generation, maybe even for a whole century. And it is not only about the future of the British, it is about the future of all citizens of the European Union.
“Only in large-scale cooperation among the nations of Europe can the ground be prepared for reconstruction. (…) Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the protection of individual citizens from the arbitrary will of criminal regimes of violence-these will be the bases of the new Europe.”
Europe needs creative and innovative startups for a successful future. To foster a European startup culture the ‘Startup Europe week’ is currently taking place. Across Europe mini-events are organized in more than 200 cities. This alone is already a reason for celebration. In addition there will be even another one this year on 13 December. It will be the 200th birthday of Werner von Siemens.
An interesting speech and panel about the TPP in Canada. Speaker is Michael Geist, one of the profoundest experts on digital law in Canada. It’s from November 12, 2015. Does someone know about similar events from the European perspective about CETA, TiSA or TTIP? Even though i understand that not all texts have been released until now. Feedback would be appreciated.
On January 13 Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of the European Commission, held a great and touching speech about David Bowie, music, art and Europe on the occasion of the European Border Breaker Award 2016. Enjoy it.
Do you use the internet – professionally or personally?
Do you own a smartphone?
Which of the following online services do you use? Reading the paper? E-banking? Shopping at Amazon? Ordering food to be delivered to you? Google Maps? Ordering a cab? Car sharing? Streaming music, series or videos? Booking your travel? Submitting your tax statement online?
Do you have a Facebook or LinkedIn profile? Do you use Twitter?
On January 13, 2016 the European Commission considered the developments in Poland under the Rule of Law Framework. The College of Commissioners held a first orientation debate in order to assess the situation in Poland under this mechanism. It was a great day for the protection of the European Values.