Tales from the attic
May 22, 2023
This image was generated with Dream Studio AI.
It is May 9, 2040. Fifteen-year-old Allegra Europa discovers an old, dusty book in the attic of her parents' house, in a box filled with worn-out EU flags. She blows away the dust and recognizes her mother's photo from her younger years on the book cover. She flips through the pages and discovers many Polaroid photos of her and her friends waving EU flags on the streets. Curiosity piqued, she begins to read.
"A rescue plan for Europe. Nothing less than that is what I envision. It will either be driven and implemented from the bottom, by us, or not at all.
We are in the midst of the development and reform process of the EU. For many, this process is seen as one of complaining and criticizing. But reform is not a destructive process where everyone just loudly expresses what is wrong. It is something constructive, something renewing. I believe that we should be aware that we can also view it from this positive perspective, with an optimistic outlook. Because then we recognize what many of us do not realize at all: We are experiencing a historic moment.
We now have a unique opportunity. We are making history. We are the ones steering the course of our common European future. It would be a shame if we messed it up.
What is the current situation?
Many people still fail to understand that a nation-state cannot stand alone against much greater powers in a globalized and multipolar world. That is the crux of the matter. That is what it is actually about. Alone, we are nothing.
Current headlines about crises, which are not lacking, overshadow this core. Smaller things always take precedence over the bigger picture. It is as if we are giving someone injections for lower back pain when they actually need something for the heart. We need more heart for the European community. But we prefer to fight one symptom after another and have no interest whatsoever in understanding the underlying disease we are dealing with.
The real disease is the EU's inability to take action on many important decisions and global challenges.
This inability is constantly fueled by selfishness, nationalism, and populism.
This inability is often politically exploited by national politicians.
This inability is fueled by fears and reinforced by misinformation in society.
This inability allows nation-states to make the EU the scapegoat, while they themselves are actually responsible.
We are incapable of cohesion. We lack consideration for others in important common decisions on foreign and security policy. And the most dangerous is the inability to protect our own core values in member countries. If countries like Poland and Hungary discard our values of freedom and solidarity, who are we then?
What still defines us?
How will the world see us then? One thing is clear: the European Union can only evolve if we, the European civil society, stand behind it and actively participate in shaping its future. People like me. People like you.
We are this civil society. And if people like me and people like you do not assume this role, we leave the stage to the idle ones. To those who blame 'those up there' for everything and let 'us down here' do as they please. To those who fundamentally knew nothing and therefore could not fundamentally do anything against anything.
With such an attitude, we forfeit the opportunity to have a voice on the global stage among other world powers. The opportunity to effectively and quickly combat climate change. The opportunity to protect European values within and outside the EU. Any reform process will fail with such an attitude. And that means: Our future fails.
Now, folks, now we still have the chance to fight and turn the tide. It is not too late yet. The coming years will determine the direction in which we as a community will develop. I wrote these lines breathlessly. As if I were here at the laptop, sitting, running against everything that could stand in our way. I type with lightning speed on the keyboard because I have longed to write all this down for so long, to reach as many people as possible and call upon them to run with me. It's about a lot, people. Damn, it's about a lot."
Allegra smiles and gazes out of the dusty window. "So, this is where it all began," she thinks quietly to herself, gently caressing the stars on a colorful flag.
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