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​Alfano: “EU, three routes to follow to avoid insignificance” (La Stampa)

Dear Mr. Editor, we wish to be the builders  of a new Europe, fully aware of its scope, capable of  ‘feeling’ every single piece, as if they were the piano keys playing a single note. 

The celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome are a progressive event, which will attract and fascinate with a series of measures meant to reiterate that Europe exists, that it belongs to us, that it is grand, but can and must be improved. 

We are convinced  Europeanists, and are equally convinced that Europe should be best structured to face the new challenges of our time, namely migration, terrorism, the economic crisis, and the roots of populism which fuels fear and anger in citizens just to obtain an electoral response. This is why Europe cannot just cater to the demands of an elite, but must provide factual responses to all the queries of its citizens. 

Ever since the inception of Europe we have experienced peace. But peace and freedom are precious and are not everlasting, unless they are secured and defended, and we will defend only what we strongly desire. It is that very desire that we must nourish day after day even if, thanks to our founding fathers, our generations have experienced only peace. 

To whoever argues this project, to whoever has doubts about the European Union, I wish to say we must not forget the scenario which this continent experienced before the inception of the union. It was a battlefield where the worst crimes against humanity were committed. To those who espouse sovereignty, to the enthusiastic populists, I wish to say they should put aside their arrogance and be respectful and open their eyes to see what surrounds them. To help such people remember, I wish to mention the story of a young Jewish girl by the name of Anne Frank. Today, Anne Frank is a girl living in Syria, or rather there are many such girls and boys in Syria, but also in other regions where conflicts explode, triggered by sectarian hatred. With anger, fear and extremism, no solution has ever been found. With equilibrium and detemination instead, we have brought issues to the debate in a Europe, perhaps too concentrated on the economic outcome, on the markets and austerity, the emergencies of our era, which are urgent and demand new security policies – with a common European defence system and with an exchange of information strictly controlled by individual countries. This adds to the emergency caused by migration, which demands both solidarity and security measures. There are those who counterpose walls to a united Europe, which create separation and weakness. Protectionism restricts  the economic ambitions of a competitive and developed country. Exiting the eurozone would be ridiculous if it did not demonstrate how unscrupulous are those who foster such an idea, disregarding the fate of millions of people who have saved their money and bought homes and would see the value of their savings and houses collapse. 

If it is clear that all that which divides us tends to isolate and pave the way to inconsiderate attacks, it will also be clear that there is a need to change pace, unless we want to relegate Europe to a merely insignificant framework. The integration process should move forward. We cannot have all the carriages moving at the same speed along a track designed some years ago, heading towards the four ‘unions’ – banking, fiscal, economic and political. Not all countries can, or are ready, to move at the same pace, and this is why we have a differentiated integration. This is the only way to focus on the three great issues Europe is facing: security, prosperity and social. This brings us back to the piano keys all playing together a single note. The European Union is the greatest institutional project of peace and wellbeing ever implemented.