It’s been quite some time since I posted in my blog. Time in which I have spent much time with my wonderful, growing family, travelling and with the refugees that arrived in our German village about three months ago. And time during which I have thought a great deal about the world in which we live and the world that is developing right in front of us.
Our future world. Yours and mine. Because if one thing is certain, it is that whatever our leaders decide to do about the refugee crisis and the crumbling structure of the House of Europe, the result will affect every single person reading this blog. So it ought to matter. And we should be reacting.
I was born into a Great Britain that wavered when it came to the question of being part of an economic European unity. By the time I was thinking politically for myself, the Liberals were campaigning for British entry into the Common Market, so I became a Young Liberal. Since then, the House of Europe has been my dream and when the European Union was formed in 1993, my dream for Europe had more or less come true. I was thrilled about its growth. At first. But the larger and more complex the House of Europe became, the more my dream seemed threatened.
Today the fundament of this House of Europe is beginning to crumble. The core idea. The sentiment and the leitmotif behind the European plot. The European identity. This started to become blatantly evident during the Greek crisis when the union was clearly split down its geographical middle, but what is emerging under the refugee crisis is shocking. The trend towards nationalism within the Union, shown best in the form of kilometres of barbed wire along national borders, is even scary. And once again, as in the Greek crisis, our Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is being misunderstood Europe-wide.
There are very few true idealists left among European politicians, but Frau Merkel is one. One of her strengths is her firm belief in Europe and her determination to fortify the fundaments of the House of Europe by concentrating on what we have in common and not what makes us different from our European partners. Her aim is to consolidate our common traditional values and economic advantages. She leaves the back-biting and opportunistic strategy-making to politicians with less dignity and quietly gets on with the job of renovating the Europe she believes in. Her motto would seem to be: don’t give up until you have exhausted every possibility and for as long as there is positive development, however minor that may be.
As one of the millions of voluntary helpers that are striving, in my case in a very small capacity, to help Germany to cope with the immense problem of integrating over a million refugees, I stand behind the Chancellor. Her humane decision regarding the refugees is the only one that she can take if she wants to look at her face in the mirror ever again. We can come out of this crisis wiser and stronger if only the peoples of Europe will forget their immediate national interests and work together in this crisis for a united Europe from which we will all continue to benefit in the long term. The social and financial input necessary is an not only an investment in our economy. It is above all an investment in peace. And peace is, unfortunately, an asset that we evidently no longer know how to appreciate.