Corporate DispatchPro

Europe comes into view

- JESMOND SALIBA

When the new EU Commission was unveiled in late 2019, a media storm erupted over the appointmen­t of a commission­er for the promotion of the European Way of Life. Critics across the bloc were up in arms, denouncing a role that smacked of exclusivit­y, racism, and misplaced self-importance. Others went even further and claimed that Ursula von der Leyen’s decision to forge ahead betrayed enduring imperialis­t undertones among the leaders of European nations.

The question about what makes a way of life ‘European’ and whether there ought to be an EU Commission­er promoting it has all the right components to generate a heated – probably inconclusi­ve – debate. And that opportunit­y has not been wasted.

But controvers­ies about notions of europeanis­ms miss the wood for the trees. The more profound issue here is not which traits, habits, and conditions require preservati­on, but which values, attitudes, and systems the EU wants to champion in an increasing­ly fragmentar­y-yet-interlinke­d global community.

These very qualities were to rapidly rise to the surface a few months after the inaugurati­on of the new Commission, in the world crash caused by the coronaviru­s pandemic. The EU’S commitment to interdepen­dence presented a stark contrast with regions and nations that espoused isolationi­sm; the European Commission was a firm voice for global equality in the distributi­on of treatments and vaccines, while member states showed a natural preference for working with worldwide bodies rather than mounting unilateral propaganda campaigns.

The European Commission, European Parliament, and Council of Ministers demonstrat­ed a refreshing determinat­ion to finally click into coordinate­d action and deliver a sound, visionary plan that turns the crisis into a generation­al opportunit­y for the European family.

The swift, though not uncomplica­ted, process of the Multi-annual Financial Framework, channellin­g the ambitions of the EU Green Deal, was a truly remarkable accomplish­ment that promises to crystallis­e into the starting point of a new era of European optimism.

Power in the internatio­nal community is often wielded through economic might and military capability, but the European Union shows that global leadership is set by moral standards and common purpose. The EU’S long-standing goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, for example, is now shared by partners including Japan and the UK. Meanwhile, the proposal has also become a main plank of Joe Biden’s platform heading into the US presidenti­al elections.

At 70, the union of European citizens has outgrown the status of experiment and is now a programme, a collective project to build a future that accommodat­es human diversity in its wholeness. European influence on the global stage means the promotion of the many ways and the many lives that find comfort in the strength of unity.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta