Grandstand. Europe is experiencing its greatest crisis since the Second World War. Our citizens are dying or struggling in hospitals overwhelmed by a pandemic which has posed the greatest threat to public health since the 1918 flu.
Europe is facing a war different from what we have managed to avoid in the past seventy years: a war against an invisible enemy which is testing the future of the European project.
The circumstances are exceptional and require strong positions: we can rise to the occasion or fail as a Union. We are living in a critical moment when even the most Europeanist countries and governments, like Spain, need proof of real commitment; need strong solidarity. Because solidarity between Europeans is a key principle of the Union’s treaties. And it’s in times like this that it manifests. Without solidarity, there will be no cohesion. Without cohesion, disaffection will settle in and the credibility of the European project will then be seriously compromised.
Getting rid of old national dogmas
Important decisions, which we welcome, have been taken in recent weeks, such as the new temporary emergency purchasing program of the European Central Bank. This week the European Commission adopted the SURE plan for people affected by unemployment. However, this is not enough. We have to go further.
Europe must build a war economy and promote European resistance, reconstruction and recovery. It must do so as quickly as possible with measures aimed at supporting the public debt which many States have to assume. And it will have to continue to do so after the health emergency has passed, in order to rebuild the economies of the continent by massively mobilizing resources within the framework of a plan which we have called “new Marshall plan” and which will have to benefit from the support from all common institutions.
Europe was built on the ashes of destruction and conflict. She learned from history and understood something very simple: if we don’t win the battle together, all together we will end up losing it.
This crisis can be an opportunity to rebuild a much stronger European Union. But, to achieve this, we must put in place ambitious measures. We must stop thinking small, or else we will fail. The United States responded to the 2008 recession with stimulus measures while Europe chose austerity, with the results we all know. Today, faced with a global economic crisis that threatens to be even more serious, the United States has implemented the largest mobilization of public resources in its history.