It sets out in remarkable clarity what is wrong with the EUnion, and why it will lead to the exact opposite of what the EUnion clais it is for. The closing is particularly strong, arguing that those of us who loath the EUnion at least share the vision of a prosperous and peaceful continent. Where we and the EUrocrats part ways is in our vehement opposition to the means employed by the EUrocrats. It is not whether we want peace and prosperity. It is how we will achieve it.
The letter is, I think, important enough to reproduce in full. I recommend reading it and spreading it around.
For a Free Europe!
An Open Letter to Helmut Kohl
March 1, 2012
by Marco Pino
In a recent essay for BILD magazine, former Chancellor Kohl appeals to Germans not to lose sight of the goal of a united Europe. Now, in crisis, more Europe would be needed, not less.
Blu co-founder Marco Pino, has a somewhat different opinion: the decisive question is not whether Europe is needed, but in what way. What is needed is a Europe that functions.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Dear Dr. Helmut Kohl,
It is with great interest that I read your essay on the Euro crisis in BILD magazine. And although I am not entirely in agreement with you, I thank you for this essay.
Your comments show that there is a general conflict in this country in this instance (as also in many other important matters). On the one hand are people like you, the oldest and most experienced who are still — understandably — under the influence of the last great war. There is the generation after them — the ’68 generation who reformed our society and are firmly convinced that everything they represented was right without exception and must remain permanently viable.
And there is my generation with its own experiences. For us, in our 20s and 30s, your evocation of European peace sounds like a relic of a time long past. Haven’t we had peace in Europe for as long as my generation can think? Didn’t we already have it when there were still border controls and national currencies? Were Germany, France and the other present-day Euro-states not — as long as my generation can remember — peaceful democracies, reconciled and allied? And was it really the idea of European integration which broke through the Iron Curtain and brought peace and freedom to the east of the continent? Or was it not rather the idea of democracy itself that laid the cornerstone of peace and liberty in Europe (as elsewhere)?
My generation worries more about the future than the past. Will we too enjoy the benefits of a pension? Will our children and grandchildren still grow up in prosperity? How will Germany look — how will Europe look — if the great social problems of the present continue to be unresolved? Those problems that your generation hardly notices, to which the ’68ers frantically close their eyes, which now we, the following generation, must be the first to experience firsthand? Foreign infiltration, rising violence, brutalization, plummeting educational standards. Increasing poverty. as a result of all that — and inflation besides. Burgeoning extremism of every hue as an unavoidable consequence. All that leads to the worry of whether peace and freedom will last long in Europe.
I am communicating this concern to you. As to why this concern is necessary, however, we differ fundamentally. That is the result of different life experiences. That makes it so much more important that the two sides listen to each other.
Europe’s intellectuals are making a big mistake. They see, without exception, nationalism as the cause of the wars of the past. No doubt it played a large role, but not the only one. Another substantial factor which promotes the development of crises and conflicts is poverty. Material poverty, from which
spiritual poverty logically grows. That was always true; that will always be true. But that, disastrously, is the actual result of present policy: it is creating poverty instead of fighting it.
The struggle against nationalism has long since degenerated into a confused campaign against any healthy patriotism, even against the most basic identity of human beings, against their understanding of themselves as peoples and nations. This Europe will not function. We cannot build your house without a foundation. The citizens are the foundation of Europe. Policy must respect the will of human beings instead of trying to implement its own vision, which is in reality only the vision of a small elite.
Your European house is undemocratic! It must of necessity be undemocratic, for a policy that cannot gain a majority cannot be actualized democratically.
I am a Spaniard, also a German. And I have for a long time also felt myself to be a European.
As a Spaniard, I tell you, I want Spain to continue to exist! And we Spaniards want to be independent. We want to and are able to solve our own problems. Our pride alone demands it. Exaggerated solidarity will not help us along, but slow us down, paralyze us, make us dependent.
And as a German, I tell you, I want Germany to continue to exist. Because the Germany of today is a superb, free and just country no one need be ashamed of. That is the great legacy from your generation which must be preserved.
And as an avowed European, I tell you, our strength is our diversity. We Europeans want what you once promised: a Europe of peoples, not a population of Europeans. We want to cooperate where it makes sense, and remain independent where is makes more sense. We want a unity in diversity, not a unity in simplicity.
There is no European people. Anyone who wishes to create this is working against the instincts and desires of the majority of the people on this continent — committing a crime. No one has the right to do away with historically matured peoples. Should not that too be a lesson from the Second World War?
Contemporary policy does not ensure peace in Europe; it endangers it. The salvation of the euro has long since achieved a mass effect similar to that of the Treaty of Versailles at the time of the Weimar Republic. Enormous fortunes are being destroyed and re-distributed. The ordinary person’s buying power is sinking. The policies of today are laying the groundwork for the poverty of tomorrow and thus creating the prerequisites for the wars and conflicts of the day after tomorrow. That is the reality.
We do not need more Europe or less Europe. We need a Europe that functions. And we need a Europe that is not just the vision of the elite but is the vision of the majority.
That is not the case for today’s Europe. This Europe does not work. A substantial reason for that is the euro — this political straitjacket which was shredded long ago on contact with economic reality, and is kept alive only at the cost of future generations.
A common currency is not necessary for peace and liberty. Europe — first and foremost the currency union — urgently needs to be reformed. Thoroughly. That is the only way to halt the destructive downward spiral. That is another sad truth, the actual result of contemporary policy: we, Germany, Europe, the entire proud West are in a historic decline. Frantically clinging to your vision of Europe is accelerating this decline. And the introduction of the transfer union is putting the final seal on it. How is a continent — a system — supposed to be successful when it rewards production with taxes and mismanagement with astronomic transfer payments?
The crisis of recent years is not the work of speculators and bankers. It is more than anything the work of politicians. It is the result of the system. A system that creates completely false incentives can only produce equally false results, This crisis, Mr. Kohl, is endemic to the system. It is endemic to the euro. It is endemic to the EU.
Your motives are noble. But they are not in tune with the times. Do you seriously believe that because of European currency reform the majority of Germans would suddenly favor blitzkrieg and attack their neighbors? This kind of argument is so far removed from reality and — with all due respect — ludicrous, that it seems incredible that broad elements of policy are elevating this mischief to supreme maxims of thought and action.
Precisely that could soon form the greatest mistake of the younger generation: the fatally mistaken idea of compelling Europe to an eternal peace by doing away with its peoples. What then, Mr. Kohl, if this lays the groundwork for future conflicts?
So I appeal to you and to the politicians of this country: Stop the black-and-white descriptions. Stop defaming as enemies of the European idea every person who is not prepared to approve of overt economic mistakes. Let us have a targeted, realistic and solution-oriented discussion of how we can together make our Europe better. “Better” in the sense of “more successful.” Our Europe, Mr. Kohl, has been peaceful for a long time. And the basis of that is not the euro, is not even European integration. It is democracy, prosperity, enlightenment and wisdom. That is what must be defended, instead of gambling on the daydream of a united Europe, the “United States of Europe.”
And I appeal to you and the politicians of this country: Stop the idea of ruling people in the spirit of a long past time. Come join the present. Of course the conduct of policy must learn the lessons of the past. But it must also accept the problems of the “here and now.” And it must ultimately recognize that we cannot alter the past. The future, to be sure. Or, as Albert Einstein said: “The future interests me more than the past, because I expect to live there.”
And I believe that I am speaking for many so-called “euro-critics” when I say: I too have the dream of a peaceful, free and united Europe. The question is not whether we want it, but how.