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Revival of imperious nationalisms: the EU in danger. But there is no more room for small States

The recent crises that hit the Old Continent, from the economy to the refugee-crisis, have stirred populist and xenophobic attitudes and forces, which oppose the integration process. Nonetheless, it is becoming increasingly clear that close cooperation among EU Member countries is necessary to address this global phenomenon in a spirit of solidarity

Given the current developments, it is likely that all those who over the past decades had supported the European unification process, persuaded by its fundamental goodness in the hope of its expansion as part of the Continent’s federal and democratic framework, will be profoundly disappointed. Probably these same people had also sought, in one way or the other, to contribute to its implementation, as in the case of many committed citizens.

Above all, it is deeply discouraging to see that the virus of nationalism and xenophobia is again spreading across several Member Countries

despite various actions aimed at reconciliation, along with generous contributions to solidarity initiatives, which fall within the core values of the European Union.

Moreover, there is also another circumstance that causes disappointment: with the re-nationalization of European politics, resulting from this virus,

Solidarity is lost along the way to the benefit of a fictitious form of national solidarity, thus making it impossible to reach a solution to common problems at Community level.

This occurs at a time when the manifold complex crises, which have been jeopardizing economic stability, societies, and national policies, as well as the EU as a whole over the past years, have escalated to the point of reaching a critical dimension that could lead not only to delusion but also to discouragement. Given this state of things, feelings of resignation are likely to betide.

Until the issues at stake fall within the realm of critical developments involving the economy and the currency these remain more or less known variables that pertain to crisis management, which can be controlled relying on past experience and adopting proven methods in accordance with the regulations enshrined in the Treaties. Also in this case, mutual interdependence is evident among the stakeholders themselves, and thus the possible solutions are negotiable. But now, along with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing from war and poverty that is afflicting various areas of Africa and the Middle East, we are facing a crisis that is completely different in terms of proportions and nature.

Now the issue involves human beings, their suffering and hopes.

It concerns the need to provide them with appropriate protection, welcome them in a dignified manner and give them a prospect of integration within an environment and a society that are alien to them. Before this new challenge, far too many governments of EU Member countries, guided by eurosceptic, nationalistic, and xenophobic forces, have reacted with panic; they made their borders impenetrable to the expense of their neighbours; following the motto “Every man for himself” they rejected European solidarity without realizing that facing the challenges of the new situation requires a common effort. This has led to a deep divide throughout Europe.

If this state of mind should prevail it would be impossible to bring forth the integration and the unity of Europe. Without an ethical thrust the European project would be lacking its driving force.

Should we thus give up hope that this work of peace will be successful? There are many reasons to resist resignation. To renounce would mean surrendering to those forces that in the past century brought war and destruction, moral and cultural decline and inhumanity. The challenge of political unification is far from lost, although its supporters and protagonists are under remarkable pressure and hostilities on the part of their opponents, namely the sceptics and the obstreperous.

Community Treaties and the many other bilateral and multilateral agreements that unite the European States together and to one another have made their relations substantial to the extent of having reached a “point of no return”, which it will be very hard to back down from.

The interests invested by national structures and social parties prevent the reinstatement of small States.

Those States that oppose solidarity, which include – and this yet another bitter disappointment – the Countries in Eastern and Central Europe, which in turn had been the recipients of great acts of solidarity after the fall of the Iron Curtain, will need to weigh up also Community advantages that promote their economic and social development, today and in the future. There remain the needs that have led the European countries to come together in a Community, and that cannot be easily explained to certain populist leaders with shallow, short-sighted rhetoric. Considering the increasing pace of globalization, even the largest Member States can no longer exist alone. They need the Community and its solidarity.

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