The EESC, upon request of President Luca Jahier, organised a ceremony to commemorate the centennial of the end of the First World War. WWI shattered the established order in Europe. Political leaders in 1914 expected the war to be a limited conflict, remodelling equilibrium in the Balkans and between opposing powers and alliances. What a terrible illusion. Instead, this conflict turned into a long intercontinental war, involving America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, mobilising more than 30 nations. We know the devastating consequences: The 'armistice', for peace it was not, ended only two decades later, when citizens believed the simplistic narratives and promises of fascist and later nazi politicians. We need to remember this in face of new forms of nationalism, antisemitism and racism gaining ground today. Furthermore, the threat of global conflicts is flaring up. So let us not forget that something as inconceivable as war is not impossible. European reconciliation, peace and unity is not to be taken for granted for ever.
The EESC had the pleasure to welcome French Historian Nicolas Offenstadt speaking about the purpose of commemorations and the La Monnaie Wind Quintet playing music by Maurice Ravel, which he composed in memory of his friends who died in the Great War.
Link to the President's speech: https://www.eesc.europa.eu/en/news-media/presentations/joint-commemoration-can-make-europe-stronger