(excerto do texto integral do discurso de Joachim Gauck sobre a Europa em 22.02.2013)
There has never been this much Europe. A lot of people, especially in Germany, currently have very different feelings about that when they, for example, open their morning newspapers. There we usually find Europe reduced to four letters – euro – and read about crisis. Time and again, the stories centre around summit diplomacy and rescue packages. It is disheartening. We read about difficult negotiations, and when we read about successes they are usually only partial successes. And time and again, the main theme is a sense of unease, even unmistakeable anger, which cannot be ignored. In some member states, people are afraid they are the ones footing the bill in this crisis. In others, there is growing fear of facing ever harsher austerity and falling into poverty. For many ordinary people in Europe, the balance between giving and receiving, between debt and liability, responsibility and a place at the table no longer seems fair.
Add to that the litany of criticism we have been hearing about for a long time: annoyance with so-called Brussels technocrats and their mania for regulation; complaints that decisions are not transparent enough; distrust of an impenetrably complex network of institutions; and, not least, resistance to the growing significance of the European Council and the dominant role of the Franco-German tandem.
Attractive though Europe is, the European Union leaves too many people feeling powerless and without a voice. I hear this and read it on almost a daily basis and can tell you: there are issues in Europe that need clearing up. When I see all the signs of people’s impatience, exhaustion and frustration, when I hear about polls showing a populace unsure about pursuing “more” Europe, it seems to me that we are pausing on a new threshold – unsure whether we should really stride out on the onward journey. There is more to this crisis than its economic dimension. It is also a crisis of confidence in Europe as a political project. This is not just a struggle for our currency; we are struggling with an internal quandary too.