Helping Hand

Britain must be allowed to save face, and Europe must find a way to open the door to their return. All else would be a terrible mistake…

europe-3416070Thoughts of Germany once robbed the poet Heinrich Heine of sleep. Today it is Europe that keeps us awake at night. Heine lived in the 19th century – before the political unification of Germany and well before anyone could have imagined the catastrophes of the world wars. After 1945, when Europe lay in rubbles and the crime against humanity that was the Shoah had come to light, Europeans vowed to do better. Rather than fight wars, the countries of Europe resolved to join forces in economic and political cooperation. Europe was to become a force for peace, international understanding and prosperity.
The idea of Europe would go on to enjoy unprecedented success. Borders were toppled. Germany reunified under peaceful and democratic terms. The European Union grew to encompass 28 states and more than 500 million people, becoming a leading global economic power. Many people suffering from poverty and persecution sought refuge here. Of course, there were problems – as there always are and must be. But rather than mastering these challenges, some in Europe began to revert to old habits of egotism, the very attitudes that brought us so much suffering and destruction in the past.
The fact that populism has also taken hold of the reins in the United States has no bearing on our current situation. The US will remain united – but Europe is beginning to break apart. Britain voted to leave the European Union. It is past time for Britain to acknowledge that this decision will do damage both to their own country and Europe as a whole. Yet rather than reversing course, they are backing themselves into a corner. In an unpragmatic and wholly un-British fashion, they have chosen to become the “party of No”.
Europe is simply watching and standing by. This is a mistake. Instead we must persist, and extend Britain our hand. Britain must be allowed to save face, and Europe must find a way to open the door to their return. If we fail, we will be paving the path to the dissolution of a unified and peaceful Europe. That would be a terrible mistake.

Photo Credit: JVG

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