A strong European Union is a united European Union

Berlaymont European Commission UN Orange

Berlaymont and EEAS buildings illuminated in orange for the UN’s ‘Orange the world: End violence against women and girls’ Campaign. © European Union , 2017 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Lukasz Kobus.

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Michaella Alexandrou, a 20-year-old medical student at the University of Athens, Greece. She is currently serving as Local Officer on Human Rights and Peace (LORP). Ms Alexandrou is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA). The opinion expressed in this piece belongs to the writer and does not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Euro-sceptic parties record historical rates in European core countries, while UK citizens choose to exit the Union. Instead of collapsing, the borders are being restored in the form of walls and wire mesh, and the Schengen Treaty divides European citizens and member states.

All these show an identity crisis that challenges the European construction and leads many Europeans to be concerned about the future of Europe.The EU has not yet appeared to be mature institutionally and politically to address these problems.

The EU is not ideal. It is a unique achievement in the history of civilizations, which is open to amending several improvements. The existence of a two-speed Europe is a fact, extreme ideologies turn to power under the shadow of social pathogenesis, while at the same time peoples doubt whether it is feasible for a country to set common European interests above the national ones, and whether it is feasible for national interests to be identical to European ones.

Besides, the economic crisis that characterized our time has raised the debate about the causes of the strong European dimension of the crisis, which is directly related to the failure to launch the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

Of course, the answer to the crisis is not the dissolution of the Union and the introversion of the countries; on the contrary it would mean its destruction. The European Union as an ideology, as an achievement and as a political system is indisputable value, remembering that “union is strength” and the fact that dissolution of the Union would inevitably mean conflicts and ethnic rivalries.

What is needed is the strengthening of European integration by completing EMU, taking measures for economic growth, cohesion and employment, effective migration management, defense integration and, most importantly, the consolidation of European identity!

It is important, however, when referring to the EU to take into account the image of Europe before and after the creation of the EU.  It is the EU which, in the field of politics, promotes democracy and transnational relations, pushing countries into the path of democratization, through the reforms advocated by the collective bodies. It is the EU that has transformed Europe from a continent of wars into a continent of peace by consolidating peaceful ideals and making it understandable that peace is more advantageous than war.

In the economic sphere, despite any problems, it offers financial protection, more controlled competition and the use of financial supply mechanisms, while at the same time creating a secure environment for European citizens in all aspects of life.

Further European integration is a necessity of our times, and medical students owe our duty through our action to defend the European ideal and to promote a common European cultural identity that does not destroy national identities but instead gather harmoniously all the positive characteristics of national identities in a spirit of cosmopolitanism.

Why us? Because we have the power, the will and the influence through our organized action and the humanitarian ideals of the EU are in line with our value system. Why now? Because introversion trends increase, egoism, which is unacceptable for the European spirit, seems to dominate and ‘a la carte’ policies undermine our vision. After all, a strong Europe is a united Europe.

About the author

Michaella Alexandrou is a 20-year-old medical student at the University of Athens, Greece. She is serving as Local Officer on Human Rights and Peace (LORP). Michaella has a special interest in international relations and politics and she is currently studying International Relations at the American College of Greece in parallel with her studies in medicine. She is optimistic about human nature, believes that through our action, “with logic and dream”, we can change ourselves for the better and stimulate further development in our societies.

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