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

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software Developer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Join a fast growing software co...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate / Digital Account Exe...

Guru Careers: Junior Designer / Design Graduate

£18k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Junior Designer / Design Graduate to join...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager / Graduate Trainee

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Key Sales Account Manager/Graduate Trainee i...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas