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The Warsaw Voice » Society » December 21, 2011
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From the Editor-in-Chief
December 21, 2011   
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Some people say the EU has reached a wall and has to shatter. You can hear satisfaction of the “I told you so” variety in their voices, only slightly veiled with a pretense of concern. But a disaster is an unpleasant occurrence, even if expected. It can cause pain to everyone, even those who longed for it.

Other people, though, think of the wall as a dividing line, an obstacle that reveals weaknesses and mobilizes people to overcome them.

One way or another, after the current crisis, the EU will not be the same as before. But what will it be like?

That’s a Hamletic question: to be or not to be? The “not to be” is hard to imagine, even for adamant opponents of the EU. Because it’s almost impossible to imagine a return to the situation of years ago: Europe as a conglomeration of countries constantly fighting one another to defend their own selfish interests; a continent of hostility and distrust, changeable alliances and lack of capacity for cooperation; a jumble of countries virtually defenseless in the face of extremism and populism. All this in a globalized world where true protection of national interests under conditions of global competition can only be attempted by economic and political bodies of the highest caliber; and only they can face up to the challenges of today.

The tools and projects that Europe used until now have proved insufficient. Our Tower of Babel has grown to quite a decent size but so many cracks are visible that small adjustments just aren’t enough. Some say: tear it down. And others?

We’re still trying adjustments, minor repairs, small improvements and they’re not doing much good. One more meeting, another new institution, new rights, declarations, pledges. It’s like chasing your own tail. Leaving this tight circle of old medicines for new diseases, or old language for new situations, is only mentioned in whispers, maybe from the fear of taking a truly huge step into the future.

Poland’s foreign minister has the courage to describe the problem using new language and to propose a genuinely new model that will serve us in future just like the old model served us so far.

In the right company and the right place, Radosław Sikorski said the right words.

But his proposal is just a vision or barely a sketch. Many minds have to consider it, and a lot of water has to flow under the bridges on the Vistula, Spree and Seine, maybe even the Thames and Moskva, before it assumes the form of a final plan. But the words have been said.

They were a crowning of the Polish presidency. They came from a country that was the first victim of World War II and is an unrivaled master of political transformation. We have every reason and good grounds for pinning our hopes on a united and not divided Europe, because we have experienced the tragedy of partitioning and the benefits of community. We are presenting our creative powers in the two most important dimensions—that of today and that of tomorrow.
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