PUBLISHER WORD. Quo vadis, Europe?

 

On 25 March, the European Union, officially still uniting 28 states, inhabited by 500 million Europeans and speaking 24 different languages, celebrated its 60th birthday.
This anniversary was also marked by a loss, since the Great Britain has officially started its withdrawal already the following week. Even despite the fact that on 25 March 2017 the leaders of the already 27 member states gathered in Rome to sign a declaration, stating that the “European unity is a bold, far-sighted endeavour”.
Sixty years ago, on 25 March 1957, in Rome EU signatories – representatives of six European countries – signed the Treaty of Rome, thus creating the most important project of peace and unity in the 20th century.

The Europeans returning to destroyed cities and villages from the World War II and concentration camps pushed aside their resentment and hatred between nations and states for the common good and the future, making a commitment to seek for peaceful, united and prospering Europe without restraining national identities.
The Treaty of Rome created a common market for a free movement of people, goods, services and capital, as well as conditions for the prosperity and stability of the European citizens. Based on this treaty and common values of democracy, legal state and respect for human rights, the EU expanded, uniting the continent after the fall of the Berlin Wall and ensuring prosperity, as well as social and economic well-being for 500 million citizens.
It has been doing quite a good job in implementing the goal to create a better world for everyone for six decades. Even after sixty years this bold vision still looks promising and makes us proud of these impressive achievements. The EU became the largest trade block in the world. The common value of the 27 EU member states is about 5.8 trillion Euros. This constitutes more than one third of the world’s export, exceeding Chinese exports by more than 2.5 times and U.S. exports – by more than 3 times. The EU is the major trade partner for 80 countries. According to the former German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, “European unity was a dream of a few people. It became a hope for many. Today it is a necessity for all.”
The dawn of the 12 October 2012 brought the world a message – the European Union received a Nobel Peace Prize. The EU, living through not some of its best times, was taken on an emotional rollercoaster. “A tragic mistake.” “Stupid and absurd.” “A prize for idiocy.” “More than funny.” “A mean joke.” “A nasty slap in the face.” That’s only a few of the reactions from some of the newspapers and politicians of the Great Britain and other countries, shaken by political crises, debts and difficulties in managing their public situation.
“The Nobel Committee honoured the idea of European integration.” stated the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Although the European Union is currently undergoing serious economic difficulties and social uncertainties, the Nobel Committee highlighted the most important result – a successful role in advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe, which helped to “transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace”. The EU, formed on a basis of negotiations, as well as trade and cooperation agreements, rather than war and annexations, successfully passed the six-decade exam and is worth of the best grade.
Sixty is the age between young and old. It’s characterised by maturity, certain knowledge and even more existential questions.

Where are we going and why? Do we live the way we wanted and hoped for? Are we getting closer or further from our goals?
According to the theory of generations, the European Union, as a subject, belongs to the lost generation or the so-called “baby boomers” (1944-1963). I also belong to the lost generation, a large part of which also once belonged to another union – the union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the Soviet Union. Nobody asked our parents and grandparents if they wanted it. There were no referendums or ascension procedures, the Union just came to our country, the home of my ancestors, and had its way here for fifty years. We grew up and reached maturity in the shade of its physical and spiritual repressions. We have experience in both silent and open resistance, because namely my country – Lithuania – was the first to start speaking about freedom and independence, the first one to leave the union of fifteen countries and the first to move a small stone, which eventually resulted in the collapse of the powerful union (1922-1991).
After twelve years of complete independence, as well as doubts, calculations and long discussions, in a referendum, which took place on 11 May 2003, Lithuanian people expressed their good will voting “Yes” to the ascension to the European Union. In the heat of the most rapid EU expansion, on 1 May 2004, Lithuania joined the European Union together with Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Poland, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary.
After the 20th century, which brought huge losses and Soviet occupation, also restoration of our independence and establishment of the right to free will, we returned to Europe, firmly determined to build our home, hoping for peace, freedom, love, friendship, mutual understanding and support, spiritual peace and material prosperity.
Were our expectations of building the new European home proven right?
In most cases – yes. Europe learned to help and share. We opened our homes and hearts to people from different cultures and traditions fleeing from war-torn countries, determined to become their brothers and sisters, sharing bread and peaceful sky, yet, instead of peace and harmony, Europe was filled with terror, while our hearts – with fear, distrust and, perhaps, even hatred.

How should we deal and live with this?
Survival instinct tells us to leave the home that has become unsafe. Get away. Close all doors. Build walls. Run! This is exactly what the Great Britain is doing. Even the apostle Peter ran from Rome and Christian persecution, leaving his comrades behind. The legend says that fleeing from Rome he met the risen Jesus, carrying his cross, walking the opposite direction – towards Rome. Peter asked: “Quo vadis, Domine?” (“Where are you going, Lord?”). Jesus replied: “If you desert my people, I am going to Rome to be crucified a second time.”
Peter realised that he was running from his duty and responsibility against the people, with whom he shared the same roof, bread and ideas. He returned to the city...

 

Sincerely Yours,
Zita Tallat-Kelpšaitė
Publisher of the magazine

 

The magazine SEA has been published since 1935
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been published since 1999
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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been
published since 1999.

ISSN 1392-7825

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