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20 years old is a beautiful age

It’s an age at which one already benefits from stable foundations, while still yearning for adventures

By: EBR - Posted: Wednesday, January 03, 2018

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These last 20 years have witnessed many changes in Europe: the EU enlargement, the establishment of the euro currency and then the consolidation, in the crisis years, of the Eurozone through the setting up of new instruments to ensure its stability, the entry into force of the Schengen Treaty, the setting up of components for a nascent common security and defence policy.
These last 20 years have witnessed many changes in Europe: the EU enlargement, the establishment of the euro currency and then the consolidation, in the crisis years, of the Eurozone through the setting up of new instruments to ensure its stability, the entry into force of the Schengen Treaty, the setting up of components for a nascent common security and defence policy.

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by Christophe Chantepy*

In the course of 20 years, the EBR has come to the fore as a media of reference dedicated to European affairs, to our Europe.

These last 20 years have witnessed many changes in Europe: the EU enlargement, the establishment of the euro currency and then the consolidation, in the crisis years, of the Eurozone through the setting up of new instruments to ensure its stability, the entry into force of the Schengen Treaty, the setting up of components for a nascent common security and defence policy.

But there was also the rejection, in the Netherlands and then in France, of the project of a European constitutional treaty in 2005. This rejection can be seen as the first expression of the mounting misunderstanding European citizens have had towards the European construction.

That is this very misunderstanding we have to address, so that the European citizens can tell themselves: “Better in than without Europe”. 

Winning back the hearts and trust of the European citizens cannot be achieved simply through reciting again and again that Europe is our common future. We have to prove and show how it is indeed the case, as we have to provide convincing answers to fundamental questions and concerns that feed skepticism.

To demonstrate that living in the EU is preferable to withdrawing behind our national borders is a rather easy task if you take into account the innumerable advantages we all share and experience by living in the Union. More importantly, we need to change discourses about Europe: stop using the EU as a scapegoat of everything that goes wrong and attributing to national governments everything that goes fine, put into the limelight European successes rather than roadblocks or lack of progress.

And we also need to address the concerns of citizens, not least in terms of protection : Europe needs now more than ever to be a space that protects, from economic and security standpoints. The proposals laid out by the President of the French Republic, in the defence & security fields or in the organization of the Eurozone, are steps in that direction. We also need Europe to invest more into the future, through funding and education. 

It is crucial that European citizens notice how Europe takes care of their children in a concrete manner. And it is fundamental that European youths feel as much at home in European countries as they would in their country of origin.

Solidarity is the historical engine for building Europe. Solidarity needs to be brought into play, now and tomorrow. It is solidarity that has driven France to support Greece’s efforts to definitely turn its back on the crisis. 

Today, French investors are again looking towards Greece. Their projects give shape to the pledge, taken by France in October 2015, to help Greece revive its economy, as well as the French Embassy in Athens involvement into innovation, through the French-Greek innovation network MAZINNOV that offers development and partnership prospects for Greek startups and entrepreneurs. 

This is what preparing “our common future” means.

*Ambassador of France in Greece 

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