This is how the European dream ends. And they don’t even realise it

(B2) Tonight, I give the floor to Lorenzo Consoli, my Italian colleague. He is, in a way, a better fit to talk about the current situation than me. His message is worth reading and hearing

Lorenzo Consoli (DR)

Come back Juncker, they’ve gone crazy ! (1)

It is ten o’clock in the evening, Saturday 28th March. It is the day when, in Italy, the coronavirus deaths have exceeded 10,000. Spain, unfortunately, will get there shortly. France fears that it has taken the same turn.

The State is spending a great deal in these countries, and in deficit, to save as many lives as possible, with intensive care for the most serious patients and with a lockdown to stop the contagion.

If European solidarity were more than an empty and hypocritical word, it would be normal for the financially stronger countries of the EU to accept the idea that the public debt generated by the response to the pandemic should be issued in common, with common guarantees, with the same interests rates for all. Eurobonds. As if Spain, for Germany, would be what Lombardy is to Italy, a part of a great nation, the European nation.

But it is not. The European nation does not exist. European solidarity is an empty, hypocritical word. Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte don’t look at Europe, they only look at the Germans and the Dutch. They know that if they accept Eurobonds, the next day a government crisis will open up for them.

In all this, Ursula von der Leyen, who is supposed to represent the general interest of European citizens, even when it clashes with the opinions and ideological dogmas of the German, has finally today uttered the taboo word — Eurobonds — to say that “it is just a slogan”, that “this is not the plan”, that the EU “is not working on this”, and that “the reservations of Germany and other countries are justified”.

Old Jacques Delors sounded the alarm: we are facing a deadly danger to Europe. This Europe that he built more than anyone else after the founding fathers. Von der Leyen looks the other way. Every day she records beautiful video messages in three languages written by someone else for her. Yet, what matters is the orders she receives from Berlin.

This is how the European dream ends. And they don’t even realise it.

(Lorenzo Consoli)

I should point out that Lorenzo is one of the oldest journalists in Brussels. He is experienced, talented and balanced in his articles. Correspondent for Askanews, he possesses a European sensitivity through and through. Finding someone more pro-European than him in the press room is difficult. His message must therefore be heard, not scorned. All too often, I see some comments on social networks, sometimes derogatory, sometimes ill-informed, from pro-European activists, whose only equals in their refusal to see reality or to accept any criticism are the apostles of totalitarian regimes. And I know what I am talking about… Today, we must listen to the ones that are having a hard time with Europe right now. This is not the Europe that we have dreamed of, lived through and accompanied until now. We are facing a cold, impassive monster.

  1. Translated from Italian by us (original text here). The expression ‘Aridatece Juncker’ is difficult to translate. The terminology ‘Aridatece’ was used in post-fascist post-war Italy when the disappointment of the population with the incompetent politicians in power became widespread.

Nicolas Gros-Verheyde

Rédacteur en chef du site B2. Diplômé en droit européen de l'université Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne et auditeur 65e session IHEDN (Institut des hautes études de la défense nationale. Journaliste depuis 1989, fonde B2 - Bruxelles2 en 2008. Correspondant UE/OTAN à Bruxelles pour Sud-Ouest (auparavant Ouest-France et France-Soir).