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The search for Europe, di David Campanale

creato da D. — ultima modifica 17/09/2015 13:14
La versione originale in lingua inglese dell'articolo apparso in italiano a pag. 6 del numero 89 del nostro giornale, dedicato all'Europa. L'autore, David Campanale, è un giornalista della BBC, presidente e fondatore del Christian Peoples Alliance, www.cpaparty.org.uk.

It appears to be a contradiction. The peoples of Ukraine and Serbia have shown by their anger on the streets and action in the ballot box that they look towards the European Union for a future of prosperity and hope of peaceful co-interdependence. Yet inside the EU, deep questions are being asked about the direction ‘Europe’ is travelling.


So what kind of Europe is being searched for? And is the destination simply a trading area defined just by economic issues, with Europe and the Euro-zone becoming the same thing?


In 1994, the great writer Vaclav Havel went to Strasbourg as President of a country seeking to join the EU. In a speech to the European Parliament he did not simply address why the Czech Republic wished to join the community. He also sought to define what it was that would make such a union worth joining. Twenty years on, his appeal for the idea of a single European home, with an “inner order” speaks today.


Havel’s analysis and criticism of the technocratic way in which the European Union was developing tell us what really matters to others in “lost Europe”.


"Into my admiration which initially verged on enthusiasm", he told the Parliament, "there began to intrude a disturbing, less exuberant feeling. I felt like I was looking into the inner workings of an absolutely perfect and immensely ingenious modern machine. To study such a machine must be a great joy to an admirer of technical innovations, but for me, a human whose interest in the world is not satisfied by admiration for well-oiled machines, something was seriously missing. Perhaps it could be called, in a rather simplified way, a spiritual or moral or emotional dimension. My reason had been spoken to, but not my heart".


Vaclav Havel had lived through the nightmare of the vast, bureaucratic Soviet system that had no roots in the realities of the human condition. He did not want the Czechs to join another neat system, void of respect for the person. So he made an appeal for values which he said lie in the "roots of antiquity and in Christianity which have over 2.000 years evolved into what we recognise today as the foundations of modern democracy, the rule of law, and civil society. This set of values has its own clear moral foundation and its obvious metaphysical roots, regardless of whether modern man admits it or not. "


In the two decades since Havel spoke to the European Parliament have these roots become clearer to see? Various Christian responses have been at work to offer that vision. In discussions about the idea of a European Constitution – which became the Lisbon Treaty – seven Roman Catholic countries argued that reference to Europe’s Christian heritage should be included in the Preamble. This was vetoed. But their prophetic stance remains relevant.

This rejection of Christianity has been followed by the EU moving further down a secularist path. But the issue of the spiritual void at the heart of the European 'project' is something which the leaders of Europe have to return.

In 2002, Christian think-tanks, research bodies and political associations came together to form the European Christian Political Movement (see www.ecpm.info). They have been working to produce a coherent vision of values and policies for the EU. It is now registered as a Europe-wide political party, running candidates in a range of countries on a shared manifesto of Christian renewal in forthcoming EU elections.


Attempts by Europe's politicians to shut out the very heart values which inspire and explain our civilisation keep at arms length the best means of restoring trust in the European Union. The continent's citizens remain to be convinced that what is on offer is not some bureaucratic monster that seeks to limit their autonomy and ignore their human identity.


Setting out once again systems, processes and regulations will not help them regain their faith in the EU. Instead, a restoration of emphasis on what makes up the spiritual heart of Europe will broaden their hope that a new form of community is emerging. When this happens, then the EU need not fear for its future.


Founding Chairman, Christian Peoples Alliance, www.cpaparty.org.uk



David Campanale [giornalista BBC, presidente e fondatore del Christian Peoples Alliance, www.cpaparty.org.uk, London, UK]
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