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Europe as a History, a Continent and a Civilization

Many times in its history, Europe was confronted to the dilemma:

  • Europe of equal cooperation, peace, security and prosperity or
  • Europe of separated, non-connected or confronted states – nations.

A Europe of separated, not connected enough, confronted or conflicted states – nations, was constantly “rebuilt” on foundations of fierce nationalisms, often chauvinisms, with the “support” of the imperialistic technology, wars, conflicts, embargoes, or use of “muscles” (military, economic, diplomatic, cultural), always implicated the willingness to impose its own interest and to establish the domination of the majority or the strongest nation at that particular moment. The logic of assimilation which derives from it leads unavoidably to discrimination, conflicts, disintegration, wars.

An independent, organized and equal association states and nations,  regions and citizens, is the only model so far known in practice of the complex society organization capable to guarantee national, ethnic and regional identities reconciled with the demands of interdependence and globalization.

Today, the globalization a whole range of positive – negative meanings; irreconcilably divides intellectuals, but the citizens in a whole as well, since it is often manifested in forms which are not acceptable in terms of independence, equality, particularity, diversity, or it is seen and felt as imposition of dominant interests, values, ways of conduct… Therefore, without undue debate, let’s focus ourselves on a possible positive process – mutual convergence and connecting, equal exchange and independent adoption of proved or well-known ideas and values on the global level. Let’s reject it as a force or pressure of any kind – as politics of imposing the ways of life, standards of conduct and production which originate from the most developed and the strongest national entities still disposed to imperial ambitions and to governing others this way or another. 

For an independent and gradual creation and maintenance of a peaceful, prosperous, equal and unified European community of nations, states, regions, ethnic groups and citizens in the whole, the biggest danger is represented by the hidden or suppressed imperial ambitions of the countries which traditionally had the opportunity and possibility to govern others, whether situated in Europe or on the other continents. “The united Europe” is then seen as the only, beneficial for all, way of controlling and eliminating the above mentioned hegemonistic frustrations or interests, of protection of quality of life of every nation, every people, every ethnic or religious minority, every region and every individual. On the creation of this united Europe much depends the success of realization of the project of an independent, peaceful, equal and stable association of the European entities into a unified but diversified whole. The positive unification scenario opens an unlimited space of freedom, democracy, work, participation in the pluralism of ideas, cultures, beliefs, as well as political parties, companies and interest groups, which all simultaneously develop in a diversified and complex social fabric. 

The origins of great European integration ideas and projects come from the Middle Ages and Dante’s work “De Monarchia”. Since that period, one project followed the other – different associations were being proposed or imposed, as well as pacts, unions, confederations with common institutions, assemblies, even armies. Big or small regional, continental, and even so-called world wars were being started (almost always in the European region), again with the goal of creation of desired communities, one way or another. The Macedonian Empire, the Mongolian Empire, the Roman Empire, the German Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire, the French Empire… colonization of the Americas, Africa, Australia …. are merely attempts and desires for a unification and globalization, in a negative context and with catastrophic consequences. No one can say that those times and those ambitions have disappeared – the majority only hopes that in today’s Europe have prevailed the other, positive and realistic ideas.

During the last century were being spread across Europe the ideologies of peaceful and equal cooperation, integration dictionaries were being created who would inspire many thinkers, humanists, visionaries and politicians in Europe. After many centuries of war, conflicts and adversities, the positive principles of connecting led to the Congress in Montreux and Hague. The Montreux Congress in 1947 represented a key contribution of the European federalists to the conception of a federal Europe. The diversity and a number of the movements which supported, in the years after the last world war and in the years of the cold war, the idea of a united Europe, necessitated their coordination which was enabled on the Hague Congress in 1948.

At this Congress, Danny de Ružmon offers to reflect the participants six (6) principles on which they based some future European Federation (association.). These principles, whether related to the federation or similar association, and now that all benevolent, humane and far-sighted people of Europe have signed and accepted without much thought. Therefore, let us repeat them:

  1.  Federation can be born only from the renunciation of any idea of the hegemonic organization;
  2.  Federalism can be born only from the spirit of renunciation of any systemic – here means to unite together to edit, on the good   and bad way to fit all the specific and diverse realities, such as nation, region, economic, political traditions;
  3.  Federalism does not know the problems of minorities (just for the record.: Accept the equality of participation of each national community regardless of size);
  4.  The Federation does not aim to erase the differences and to merge all nations into a single block (American principle – the melting pot, prim. Aut.), but rather to protect their own quality. Any nation that makes a future Europe must have it quite peculiar, indispensable function, as has every authority in one body;
  5.  Federalism is based on love of diversity, as opposed to brutal unification that is the hallmark of totalitarian spirit. It should be composed of a number of political, administrative, cultural, linguistic, religious groups and bodies who do not have the same boundaries, which intersect each other in a hundred different ways;
  6.  The Federation is formed little by little, with the help of certain individuals and groups, not in a Center or with the help of government…

Starting from the previous context are typical of the views of Morris Alea who then insisted on three essential attitude of European federalism: 1) there can be no permanent political federation without economic federation, 2) economic federation can not be applied if there is no pre-existing political federation and 3) Economic Federation reinforces political federation and vice versa.

Fifty or more years after exposed to thinking, dominated most influential people of Europe differ in whether they are real or not. Is it possible on these or similar principles to constitute a flexible, prosperous, equitable, decentralized, sustainable and effective community of European entities!? The answers to these issues will depend on the future of Europe, and maybe other similar potential of communities across this today, small, a close and volatile globe.

The leading European movements after the World War II were: restored Pan-European Union (1946), European Parliamentary Union (1947), European League for Economic Cooperation (founded in 1947 on the initiative of Paul van Zeeland, run by a council of presidents of ten national councils and personalities from economic circles), as well as the Union of European Federalists (UEF) founded in 1946. Following their goal – a peaceful, gradual and equal union of Europe – these and other movements mobilized national and European elites (political, scientific, cultural, business and others), disregarding their eventual adherence to a political party, religious, ideological or any other, with a goal of achieving the unity programme.

Preparations of the Hague Congress were executed by the Coordination Comity of the Movements for European Unity. The Coordination Comity relied on the work of three commissions – political, economic and cultural, as well as on the work of national comities. The national comities were in charge of designating the delegates from all available structures ready for cooperation: parliaments, political parties, trade-union and professional organizations, churches, women’s right leagues, universities, intellectual and artistic circles. This European meeting that took place from 7th to 10th March 1948 was attended by about thousand delegates from many different areas, political and geographical: about a hundred of members of parliaments of different orientations – from Christian democrats with Adenauer at the head, to liberals, socialists, conservatives and others, all as citizens, a number of famous writers (Jules Romain, Etienne Gilson, Raymond Silva, Raymond Aron, Salvador de Madriaga, Denis de Rougemont) and many important persons from university, trade-unions and religious circles. In brief, true European elite  the so-called Free Europe (capitalist or democratic Europe) was present at the Congress.

Three resolutions represent the programme of the Congress: political, economic and social, or cultural. Their essence was summarized in the Message to the Europeans, adopted by the Congress on the demand of its author, Denis de Rougemont. In the field of human rights, the Congress formulated a courageous and precise proposition to:

  1.  Elaborate the Chart and
  2. Propose the criteria to be attained by democratic regimes and which would define:
  • the freedom of thought, assembly and expression and
  • the free work of the political opposition.

The above mentioned initiatives gave birth to the Council of Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights. 

The congress adopts urgent measures and formulates long term goals, like:

  1.  free flow of capital and labor,
  2. monetary union,
  3. agreed recovery of budget and credit policy,
  4. customs union completed with moderate foreign trade tariffs.

The proposed measures were adopted in order not to stop ordinary trends and the development of the world trade, harmonization of social legislation and coordination of economic policies in order to protect the full employment in Europe.

After the Hague Congress, the International Comity for the coordination of the Movements for European Unity was transformed into the European Movement with honorary presidency composed of Churchill, De Gasperi, Coudenhove-Kalergi, Spaak, Adenauer and Robert Schuman. As a wide organization associating and coordinating all European movements, the European Movement fulfils its function of the promotional pressure group influencing national governments and parliaments as well as European institutions. Except the Congress, the European Movement had at that time the International Council, composed mostly of presidents of national councils (75), who gather at national level different national and local movements, and members of Executive Comity (50) which included members of European movements as well.

Naturally, the participants in all the above mentioned were since the beginning, mostly persons of the highest educational, creative and moral levels, the most important people in their environment, conscientious of the necessity to overcome the narrow-mindedness, intolerance, dictatorship, exploitation, backwardness etc. Since the union of Europe was seen as a long lasting process, this lobby was the strongest and the most influential in the Europe of that time, with efforts oriented to gather people who were capable to see further and act quicker in the interest of the whole.

From today’s perspective, the majority of propositions from the 1948 Congress were mostly accomplished. With all problems, expected difficulties and insurmountable dangers, integration processes progress in width, or diversity of participants, and in depth, or the degree of generally accepted, and even applied for the largest part, integration rules, regulations and laws. The Union has been constantly increasing, perfecting their functions and mechanisms, improved their results and define the expected or unexpected problems and weaknesses, what is the real result of the creation and growth of one such complex, unique and unrepeatable continental associations.

National interests of Serbia and the Serbian people as a whole is to be as fast as possible integrate into the European Union., as a political, economic, legal and more and more security, ecological, culturally, socially just and sustainable association of free people. Reasons are many in number but the one is enough for itself – most European countries, but is in some respects more full, associate or potential member of the EU, and those that have not already doing everything in their power to become.

Legitimate is a constant debate about the shapes, sizes and functions common EU and national representatives from some of their own desired level of integration in the same. Examples Norway, Switzerland and Britain are instructive and largely understandable. It is not acceptable naive type statements opposing the Union: we have always been in Europe, we are part of Europe, we are one of the oldest European nations etc; disregarding the facts that Salazar was in Europe, that Hitler’s Germany and Musolini’s Italia was in Europe, that even Enver Hoxha’s Albania, Franco’s Spain, Stalin’s Soviet Union etc. were in Europe, too.

Orientation of all supporters of the creation and development of this unique community (EU) is that they want to become part of a clearly defined and some of Europe – democratic, free, equal, socially responsible, economically properitetne, educated, cultured and healthy Europe. Europe without historically outmoded dogma, hegemony, monopoly, neo-colonial and imperial ambitions in Europe that you can freely (more or less) to enter, but from which you can feel free to come by and jointly agreed procedures.

Orientation towards the so-called. European integration is a matter of free choice, valid reasoning and common sense. The imposition by force of this commitment, various media and political pressure was counterproductive. Our apologetic oriented and uncritically aggressive ideologists of the European integrations understand that their imposing and propaganda efforts are counterproductive for our pro-European intentions, that a unilateral, ideological and sometimes idolatrous or anational promotion of the desired European path rejects and makes despicable the noble European integrative ideas and motives?  Such one-dimensional and unconvincing access to Europe (EU) is exactly the opposite by its founding objectives, its emergence and persistence!.

Strongest possible pro-European stance is just following material truth – life in Europe is supposed to better relations and cooperation among the more successful of all sections. There can be no country in Europe, a people, a region, or a citizen who does not have such an interest. Everything else is a matter of judgment, agreement, interest! Will this cooperation in the future to be developed through a European Union, the European Federation, the European Community, or something similar, is of little strategic interest for all participants. Of course, you should also say something that would normally not be necessary, but make Europe and Spain, and Malta, and Cyprus, and Greece,… as well as Germany, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, and Serbia,… or Russia, Turkey, Armenia and Georgia.

Starting from the initial premises of the European unity, it is possible as a successful and long-term, autoviable project only under those commonly defined goals – independence, equality, integration, democracy. The acceptance of the obviously common values and preservations of specificities and particularities of smaller or small entities, countries, nations, but also regions, areas and ethnic groups, is the only realistic way to the realization of this millennium-long dream of the European nations and citizens.

A degree of integration must be a matter of all participants, a matter of commonly elaborated interests and a matter of reality. The tactics, strategy and the content of particular solutions can be commonly changed and improved by the participants. But, when an agreement has been reached for a certain period, it must be unambiguously valid during that period, and be applied equally to everyone. System without unique and rules, standards and norms – can not be sustained!

The fact is: a peacefully, independently, equally and gradually integrated Europe – contrary to endless wars, occupations, nationalisms, animosities – no alternative!