Europe gives us so much more than it takes…

 

Immanuel Kant's vision of a federation of peaceful nations must have seemed like a distant dream from his idyllic Prussian village. Indeed after his death in 1804, wars would blight the continent of Europe shattering entire political systems and the millions of lives of Europeans aching for some semblance of peace and tranquillity in their lives.

The Second World War was the catastrophic consequence of this fractured nature of European states and that dream of one European, of a peaceful federation (not in a literal sense) has been realised. However much we may complain about the arrogance of the French, the almost admirable but no less equally annoying efficiency of the Germans it doesn't change the fact that Europe has been a bastion of peace for 67 years and we have all prospered materially and culturally because of it.

The migrations that we all take every year to some European country allow us not only to enjoy the sun which we tend to see little of but also to enjoy the culture and diversity that Europe has to offer. Whether that be the Arc de Triomphe (pictured) of France, the antiquity of Roman monuments or the Gothic masterpieces of Prague, we are free as Europeans to indulge in our European heritage.

Forgive me for my heady idealism but that is what Europe is, an idea. Of course from a more pragmatic viewpoint issues such as immigration, lack of democracy at institutional level and the technocratic nature of the EU need to be addressed but that cannot be done by mere technicality alone. Indeed a block of wood is a block of wood until it is fashioned into a beautiful chair by our ideas.

This is what must be done; Europe can only truly address these issues through a new idea of Europe instead of through the hard-wired minds of technocrats. We must also stay in this union due to the rise of such countries as China, India and Brazil. These countries pose massive structural risks not only to our own power position but also to the world.

As an Englishman who is proud of this 'little island of coal surrounded by fish', to quote Aneurin Bevan, I must not be blighted by creeping xenophobia and withdraw from Europe and beyond. Indeed it was men of this country hundreds of years ago who took their ships out beyond the horizon and founded a new world.

It is that attitude we must take, and lead Europe through its quagmire of financial crises and mediocrity. Our British and European ancestors of old would expect nothing less than for us than to act in concert with our European brothers and sisters.

The writer is studying International Relations at Plymouth University

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Junior Developer - Cirencester - £29,000

£25000 - £29000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have be...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Data Analyst - Essex - £25,000

£23500 - £25000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Data analyst/Sys...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Account Manager

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Account Manager is r...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Manager / Sales Executive

£18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Account Man...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project