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The Common European Vision of a Europe of Peace and Solidarity, a vision that we have come very close to making a reality and tasting part of its fruits, a Europe centered on a man with values for Democracy, Freedom, the Rule of Law, a Europe where Human Rights are a code of life, the only code of life where hatred, intolerance, fanaticism are reminiscent of the past this Europe is in danger as never before, not in an immediate disintegration but in an unprecedented delay or even a reversal at its Completion.
In an ever-changing political landscape, the European Union remains the global benchmark for Stability and Quality of Life within its borders, the protection it offers to all its citizens. And this is what many people do. At the same time promoting freedom of markets and protecting the consumer, opening up new trade routes and empowering local producers, the United Europe is the solution. Every denial of the European Idea proposes a return to a loose form of cooperation and a return to a world status that no longer exists. Returning to the nation-state will be disastrous for each of the EU states, and especially for their citizens.
At a time when every region on the planet is seeking more cooperation, more integration, in line with the European Union, to say that the EU it must be dissolved or not evolved is a real dystopia. Because every serious analysis of the future of our continent, of the future of European countries, has one common ground: today we do not yet have the Europe we need. That is why we need to constantly demand more Europe, more United Europe.
“United Europe will not be built on its own” as Robert Schuman said in his famous proclamation. It takes a lot of effort, step by step, and the goal of solidarity. As Jean Monnet points out, “beyond our differences and geographical boundaries are our common interests.” And that is what we must strive for. Recent history has shown that United Europe has put man at the center of the process. Nations must compromise; give in to something else, often with great pain, but nowhere in the world, in any other geographical area of the world, in any other historical period of mankind, the ordinary citizen. it does not have such excellent protection of so many rights from the markets, other citizens or even the state itself.
No other venture has protected and shielded every citizen, respecting his identity and his particularities, beyond the European Integration Venture. And all this is a slow and arduous process: as de Gasperi states, “the future will not be imposed by force, nor by the desire to conquer, but by the patient application of the democratic method, the constructive spirit of consensus, and respect for freedom.”
In the southeastern corner of Europe, our Greece and acrobatic Rhodes we must not ignore our role in all this. Every vote counts, every effort towards the European Dream adds a step to its achievement. Konrad Adenauer very rightly states that “when the world looks great and complex, we must remember that all great world ideas start from a small neighborhood.”
The central message of this year’s Europe Day is Democracy! Democracy as expressed through our conscious participation in the elections to elect our representatives to the European Parliament. This time, we all vote!
We are voting for a United Europe, a good future for Greece!
Michael G. Kavuklis
President of the House of Europe in Rhodes
Member of the Board of Directors of the European Network for Education and Training – EUNET