It’s become a tradition for me. In spite of all my other tasks and responsibilities and regardless of whether I am actively blogging at that moment or not, I would sit down (in the middle of the night) and write up a short blog to be published on 9 May, the EU Day. Usually, I write about how I see Europe evolving and what I would wish it to become for future generations. Today, let this be a call for immediate action, as we seem to be living in time that hangs between war and peace, freedom and autocracy, stability and chaos.
Much has been written since Putin’s army invaded Ukraine almost two and a half months ago. From early wonderings about how long would the war last, to now trying to predict calamities in every aspect of our lives, from energy to food prices, inflation and political extremism. The blame game is already on and doesn’t help anybody. At this point it doesn’t matter “ko je počeo rat” (“who started the war”) but how we can end it as fast and as best as possible.
As always (unfortunately) the European integration evolves fastest during crises. And the Ukrainian war is certainly a crisis for the EU. The speed with which all EU Member States stepped together upon Russian invasion, condemned the aggressor and supported Ukraine, was astonishing. Foreign policy decisions usually take months. This one was taken in a matter of days. Sanctions that followed were similarly fast and to the point. Subsequently, and very much to the contrary of common practice in the EU, Ukraine was offered a candidate status. It’s the first time in EU’s history that a country is offered this status while being actively at war. Such move shifted the mindset from “helping Ukraine” to “supporting one of us”. Shit got real. The EU against Russia.
While the initial decisions made on a “principle”, as a reaction to the obvious aggression and a call for peace, we can see after over 2 months of fighting in Ukraine, that Member States have started approaching the situation in a more traditional way, considering national benefits before a united EU action. They have forgotten that the war with Ukraine is in part already a war with the EU. And that the EU is fighting Russia back even though it doesn’t send soldiers, but imposes sanctions.
And so, my EU Day appeal this year is to all EU leaders, and citizens. Let’s not forget that the ultimate goal of the EU is to create a lasting peace on the continent. Let’s not fail to see the bigger picture because of short sighted localised fears. We are stronger than we think. But only if we work together, as Europe.