Europe in May 1945: a destroyed continent, over 50 million war victims, tens of millions of refugees, uprooted and injured. Hunger, devastated lands and torn societies. Continuing civil wars and partisan fights in Italy, the Balkans, Greece and Eastern Europe. A political geography of failed states with dysfunctional judicial and financial systems, mistrust and a desire for revenge between neighbouring states.
Europe in May 2020: A continent in corona lockdown, Brexit on the doorstep, a difficult transatlantic partner, China as a rival gaining influence, deep mistrust of neighbour Russia, which is waging a hot war in Europe. Climate change and migration as megatopics challenging Europe’s material and political resources.
Is Europe finished? No, because Europe today is also the following: one of the three largest economic areas in the world, winner of the Cold War in the 20th century, a community of continuously developing and expanding work of peace and prosperity by former enemies of war. Europe, that is the reality of a deeply integrated area of economy and law, of learning and research, of free encounters and free speech. A place of longing for millions who want to escape misery and make the dream of a better life come true.
Read the full opinion by Thomas Ilka, Regional Director of the European Dialogue on the website of the Friederich Naumann Foundation