The world is storming. And especially around on continent. As ex-President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy put it: “The European Union. It has worked. Peace has now become natural. War is unthinkable. But ‘unthinkable’ is not the same as ‘impossible’.” It seems very likely that those two supranational institutions – NATO and the European Union – are protecting us from this scenario.
Our life just goes on
It seems to much of the population today when not so much is going on. Although the real real war is not 1,500 kilometers from us, never before have so many Belgians booked a trip. In addition, for the umpteenth time in a row, there has never been so much money parked in savings accounts. 4.5 billion has been added in 2021, we have 300 billion euros including, and this only in our country. The energy costs are too high, but of course we have been very spoiled for years. There is a fairly large group, the lower middle class that is having a harder time, but our indexing system Prepare a large part of the population†
Our bureaucracy muddles a bit further
All in all it is still quite quiet and we can actually go about our business. Projects may still last more than 20 years, just think of Oosterweel. Also our court proceedings according to the last cry of help from just self.
One does have a final where it was easy to get one for five to fifteen years. Not to mention the layers of government that are suffocating our society like a patchwork quilt. That our country suffers from a sclerosis of our institutes is clear.
Fortunately, and it must be said, we have two strong supranational powers that grow stronger with each crisis: the much-criticized European Union and the somewhat less obvious but important NATO. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, where we can still count on that other much hated superpower – the United States. The fact that Finland and Sweden now also want to be part of this military pact is a huge strain of confidence for the alliance.
The European Union bends forward
But it is above all the European Union that is making the most leaps forward. The bond between the 27 has never been stronger Although Poland and Hungary sometimes go to their former buddy what they struggle with most. In the meantime, we even have a common vaccine policy. It was a somewhat quick start, but now this collaboration is also at cruising speed. Meanwhile, all are working together to become energy independent from the great beer in the East.
And of course the list is much longer: the Erasmus exchange project has become part of every student, the EU has become the champion of privacy rights worldwide and is the only one standing up to Big Tech. The EU is also the global frontrunner in the much-needed transition to a sustainable energy policy.
Freedom of work and movement
However, the most striking achievement for every citizen is the free movement of goods and services and the freedom to live where you want in the European Union. According to the World Happiness Index, the freedom to travel and do business is one of the most important happiness makers. And let that be something in which the European Union excels.
Just ask the English today who can no longer stay in Spain. Brexit is a complete disaster. It is not good to have ‘Schadenfreude’ but Brexit will be the ultimate proof that it will always be better within Europe. That is why rumors of Polexit, Nexit or Frexit will remain rumors.
And the European citizen agrees
Even more striking: European Union is almost close to popular. It is very important that confidence in the European project continues to grow. These numbers have only improved since the last corona and Ukraine crises.
The Grand Prize: Peace
The main reason – one that we should really cherish – is that the EU has put an end to wars on its own territory. The ideas of Stefan Zweig, the later successful author who experienced ‘La Belle Époque’ – the period between 1870 and 1914 – and two world wars, is on a revival. He was officially the first real European, along with Emile Verhaeren, who protected a fervent plea for the unification of Europe.
masterpiece ‘The world of yesterday’ explains in great detail what it means to live in a continent of war and why the European project is so important. Only the generation of people over 80 still vaguely know what war was.
But in almost all countries that surround the European Union, war is a very topical story. Our neighbors in Syria, Libya, Algeria and now recent Ukraine know what peace means because they know what war is† It is not so long ago that the horror of Srebrenica was burned into our retinas. Former Yugoslavia was on fire for years.
And everyone wants it now. Ukraine, Georgia, all the Balkan countries and even Turkey will belong to the club.
“Peace is not merely the absence of war, peace is a vapor,” wrote the philosopher Spinoza. And he summary is a toe: “peace of mind, unity of benevolence, trust, justice† Peaceful living is a habit for us. We don’t dwell on it. Let’s cherish this.
Xavier Verellen is an entrepreneur and author (www.qelviq.com †