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Atomium Culture: Ein Appell : For a European Consciousness. For a More Competitive Europe

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Europa braucht ein gemeinsames Bewusstsein und zugleich mehr Wetteifer: Ein Appell von Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, Michelangelo Baracchi Bonvicini und Felipe González Márquez.

          For a while now the current economic crisis has been launching negative messages to the Europeans, squashing them in the fear of the future; messages that do not only relate to the economy but also to Europe, its integration and its future.

          Without forgetting the dramatic situation of the over 24 million European citizens currently unemployed and the financial difficulty that several European countries have to face, we have the duty to be optimistic. We have to rationally consider how it is precisely thanks to the achievements of the process of integration that today the member states of the European Union can together, thus stronger and with a shared solidarity, face the global challenges ahead and the other main political actors of the planet, sometimes constituting entire continents.

          But to be optimistic in this moment it is necessary to have a European Consciousness and not to forget the extraordinary positive factors of our reality that, among other, tie the past to the present.

          From the cradle of democracy, Europe has seen the birth and establishment of the rule of law, based on Roman law, the birth and development of the ideas of the Enlightenment that paved the way for the two big revolutions of that century, the birth of liberalism and the birth of empirical science that with its discoveries and the environment created by the abovementioned paved the way for the industrial revolution. More recently it has seen the establishment of modern democracy and the birth of a social model that puts human dignity in the forefront. And Europe has been, and is, an exceptional centre for culture and creation.

          Each of these factors, not listed in chronological order, would deserve a deeper consideration but what is useful to do today is to cite them, together, remembering that they do not belong only to the past but are ever present as fundamental features of today’s Europe. All of this, together with the still ongoing process of European integration, has ensured, in the past sixty years, the longest period of peace and prosperity that our continent has ever experienced.

          Those who speak of the irreversible decline of Europe chose not to consider these fundamental factors misinterpreting a crisis and a problem of governance for decline. Or appraising, in fear, the economic growth of other regions of the world as negative for our own future: to the contrary increased global well-being is a positive element for all.

          Europe is not in decline. Europe has recently initiated its new course and, pressed by the crisis, is realistically admitting its problems and looking for possible solutions. Jean Monnet said that “people only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them”.

          This is why Europe could leave this crisis strengthened.

          In order to achieve this, Europe cannot neglect a factor not often cited but of pivotal importance in today’s world and that relates to all that can be encompassed in the extraordinary capacity of Europeans to educate, research and innovate.

          It is towards European research and innovation – aspect of strategic importance for the present and future of Europe – that we want to bring the attention of European citizens and the leaders of the
          member states. Conscious that the decisions that our leaders make today will shape for the decades to come the continent in which our children and grandchildren will live.

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