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This memoir does not only present us with the portrait of a hero, but also with the profile of a great historical venture.” These are the first words of the preface written by Giorgio Napolitano, then President of the Italian Republic, for the Jacques Delors’ “Memoirs”. This “great venture” is, of course, Europe.
In the present context, emphasizing the need to reflect on what Europe currently is – not on a geographical level, but compared to the ideal and political project that has gradually led to European integration – seems quite important to me. Originally, according to the plan imagined by Schuman, Monnet, Adenauer, De Gasperi and Spinelli, the European Coal and Steel Community – which was the first step towards a “European federation” – was charged with preserving peace among the peoples of Europe. This would have made it “not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible” for a war to break out between European States, and would have marked the beginning of something new.
We cannot objectively deny the high value of that venture. It is true, Europe has faced many difficulties, such as the European Debt crisis – which has yet to be overcome and had a heavy impact on employment, especially for young people –; the many critical issues caused by the European asylum policy, and which result from the massive flows of refugees and migrants which have affected Europe; and also the rising tide of neo-nationalism and populism within the Member States. Despite all these difficulties and delays, the Union has enjoyed many successes, as proven by its enlargement.
This quest to improve growth and investment is in line with what Delors said when explaining that the Single Market was “designed to be beneficial for every single EU citizen” and not just limited to promoting freedom of movement for goods and services. Therefore, the Single Market was not meant to be an end, but rather a tool to answer to some social issues, an impulse for the creation of a wider European political project.
Luigi Morgano, Member of the European Parliament