As we approach the European elections and the political discourse increases in toxicity, the time has come to restore the true meaning of the European Union to avoid it becoming once again the scapegoat of countries' inability to face the transformations of the 21st century.
The President's blog
My agenda this week is under the sign of migration: I will visit the Red Star Line Museum, open the 5th Meeting of the European Migration Forum and have a meeting with his Excellency John Issam Darwish, Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Furzol, Zahle and the Bekaa, to talk about his work with refugees along the Lebanese border.
The EESC will switch off the lights in support for Earth Hour. This important annual event reminds us to take joint action for a better future on our planet. We can no longer turn a blind eye to climate change and its impact on our environment and people's lives. The latest UN report is another wake-up call.
Hundreds of thousands of people are joining Greta Thunberg today for a Global Strike for Future. We can only support the appeal of these young people, who resolutely aim to forge a sustainable Europe, a sustainable planet.
This week at the Conference of Committee Chairs in Strasbourg, I reiterated once again to MEPs that we need to rapidly move toward a rEUnaissance Dare a Sustainable Europe. I laid out the EESC's efforts on the issue and our concrete plans following Sibiu and the EU elections.
Who can contradict President Emmanuel Macron's call for a European Renaissance? Europe has achieved so much in 60 years of peace, but we cannot take it for granted any longer and must do the utmost to preserve it. No one can disagree with the fact that such a long, uninterrupted period of peace on our continent has not happened for centuries. Likewise, our Single Market, despite economic ups and downs (the oil crisis of the 1970s and the extremely serious and long-lasting crisis of 2007), has generated economic growth and prosperity. The cost of non-Europe is clear.
The European Union has a strategy which, if embraced decisively by its Member States and European civil society, would enable it to embark on an upward economic, social, environmental and institutional course. This strategy is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is based on the EU Treaty itself.
As we prepare to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we can hardly remain composed in our mourning. Rather than observe silence as the deepest mourning is solitary, we feel like shouting. Why is anti-Semitism not dead, not in Europe and not even in the United States? Why in France last year was a Holocaust survivor stabbed and burned to death in her apartment? Why the year before was a retired kindergarten teacher, Sarah Halimi, murdered and subsequently thrown from her Paris balcony?
Who would dispute that memory and commemoration are not part of the journey towards crafting stronger national identities? No historian, no anthropologist, no ethnographer would argue against that. However, as we prepare to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, there is a risk of limiting our commemoration to representing the past through lengthy speeches, exhibits in historical museums, and brief visits to historic sites.