How can one be a European today? asks Swiss journalist Guy Mettan, lamenting how his personal trajectory of twenty years of enchantment has been followed by twenty years of disillusion.
While Europe as a whole remains a first world economic power despite Brexit, it has been unable to build either a truly democratic and efficient state, or to secure peace within its territory or to have impact as a respected power on the international scene. Its splendid intellectual and artistic icons of the past two centuries are dimming in memory, leaving it no longer a radiant cultural Mecca for the world. Starting with Brexit in 2016, the European Union is now exposed to an array of dismantling forces, including the possibility of further exits, the organized opposition of populist parties, and popular uprisings like those of the Yellow Jackets in France.
Mettan outlines the long history of attempts to unify the European continent, stretching from Charlemagne to Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin, predecessors to the current iteration. He specifies the routes they took, which were most promising and durable, and why they all collapsed.
Strikingly, he compares Rome’s early adulation and mimicry of ancient Greece, followed by its steady encroachment and final absorption of it, to the current trajectory of relations between Europe and the United States, noting the increasing penetration of American culture and exer-extending application of its laws. The European Union has allowed the United States to tell Europeans how they are to progress, with whom they are to collaborate, and against whom they should go to war. The European learning process Is winding up rather dismally with no happy ending in sight.
Mettan raises these questions: Is Europe capable of ensuring security and prosperity? Do its institutions respect the internal political and social balances? Are its standards set to meet the needs of one and all or of only a few? Is Europe in a position to respond to external pressure? Indeed, whither Europe?
There is a possibility: build a federal state based on democratic participation of the peoples and a partnership with all members of European community including Russia. Share the political power and economic benefits with the peoples instead of fighting them, so that staying within Europe is in actuality in their best interest. What is the only way to build an effective state and to recover a full sovereignty free from all types of foreign influence? Mutual benefit.