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27 May, 2024
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Europe and the onus lying on our shoulders

''(The EU) has served as a catalyst to prevent the continent from experiencing similar rifts as those witnessed during the two World Wars.''



By Iacovos Iacovou*

On May 9th, 1950, the foundations were laid for the creation of the greatest peace project ever in human history. It was back then when the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman presented the "Schuman Declaration," which was actually proposing the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community initially between France and West Germany.

The choice was not accidental, as steel and coal were the main materials for the production of weapons that had engulfed the entire continent during the Second World War. Thus, the creation of this union would render a war between the major powers of Europe in the future, practically impossible.

So this year, we celebrated the 74th anniversary of this unprecedented and unparalleled historical event. The two opposing powers of the time, just five years after the catastrophe caused by the Second World War and while still nursing their wounds, managed to communicate and agree fundamentally that the only real path is the path of peace and reconciliation.

Consequently, since its establishment, the European Union has expanded and progressed in all areas. As a result, it has served as a catalyst to prevent the continent from experiencing similar rifts as those witnessed during the two World Wars.

However, the Europe of 27 Member States, the Europe of Peace, the Europe of Values, the Europe of diversity, and the Europe of 450 million citizens did not endure for 70 years and more merely due to memorials, ceremonies, and honour.

It endured because, throughout the years, certain individuals possessed the foresight, political courage, and clarity to transcend the prevailing political landscape of their era.  They had the courage, to make perhaps painful personal or even national compromises behind closed doors, prioritizing Europe’s collective prosperity above any personal ambitions.

These were people who likely resisted populism and were condemned.  The quiet people, of whom we may never know the contribution they made to what we call the United Europe.

As we know very well from our own country, those who dared and conceived the idea of our accession to the European Union were accused and vilified. Nevertheless, they closed their ears to the Sirens and worked hard so that the place would be led to the safe haven of the European Union. If it wasn't for the adamant Glafcos Clerides, where would Cyprus be today in this armageddon of development and conflict?

We must remember and honour these people, whether known or unknown, especially during these days.

And in their memory, we must strive so that this edifice they handed us, along with the guarantee of peace, is strengthened, upgraded, and improved. We must read and understand the contemporary challenges Europe faces and act immediately and decisively, away from dogmas and exclusions. We must find these solutions that will allow Europe to stand for many more years.

So, as European citizens, the way to respond to our appointment with history is the European elections, held every five years, where we are called to choose our representatives. On June 9th, let us take responsibility and elect those who will truly work faithfully and devotedly for the edifice called the European Union.

We are well aware of those who believed in and worked toward our country's equal membership in the European Union, as well as those who undermined and fought against this vision from its inception. Therefore, on June 9th, let's pave the way for the truly pro-European forces, rather than those who neither believed in nor cherished European principles and values, as they stand in opposition to what Europe represents.

*Iacovos Iacovou is the Director of the President’s Office, DISY 

Cyprus  |  Europe  |  elections

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