EU is a unique achieve­ment

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - Win Grif­fiths Cefn Cribwr, Brid­gend

HOW can we for­get that the driv­ing force be­hind the be­gin­nings of the EU was peace?

Men like Jean Mon­net and Robert Schu­man spear­headed the search to make peace per­ma­nent. The hor­rific mem­o­ries of the mil­lions who died in World War I, only to find 21 years later an­other world war tak­ing more mil­lions of lives, led them to pro­pose prac­ti­cal ways of pur­su­ing peace.

How can we for­get that the start of this story was the Euro­pean Coal and Steel Com­mu­nity (ECSC) in 1951? The found­ing fa­thers saw this as a way Europe could con­tribute to world peace. In the Treaty of Paris, set­ting up the ECSC, they stated their hope that it would make a con­tri­bu­tion through eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. They wanted to “sub­sti­tute age old ri­val­ries and coun­tries di­vided by bloody con­flicts” with a “merg­ing of es­sen­tial in­ter­ests”.

So in a small way in 1951 six na­tions – Bel­gium, France, Ger­many, Italy, Lux­em­bourg and the Nether­lands – at war six years be­fore, started a jour­ney which now sees 28 na­tions work­ing to­gether in the EU. This is an amaz­ing achieve­ment. It is unique in the his­tory of the world. All other multi-coun­try in­sti­tu­tions have re­lied on the force of the part­ner es­tab­lish­ing it. The EU is a guar­an­tor of democ­racy. Coun­tries like Greece, Por­tu­gal, Spain and, lately, many of the states freed from Soviet rule, have joined.

Each coun­try stays in­de­pen­dent and agrees to work to­gether to help main­tain peace and jus­tice. It is not a onecap-fits-all in­sti­tu­tion. The UK has sev­eral opt-outs from gen­er­ally agreed poli­cies which in­clude, for ex­am­ple, not join­ing the euro.

I hope we have an op­por­tu­nity to vote on what­ever deal – or no deal – is com­ing to us, with the op­tion to stay if we feel that it is for the best. When I see that Pres­i­dents Putin and Trump want us to leave I’m even more con­vinced we should stay.

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