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

News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
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: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Developer - Norfolk - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Software Developer - Norf...

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine