I remain convinced, nonetheless, that even the failure of individual rescue measures would not call into question the European project as a whole. The advantages it has brought so far are too obvious. We can travel from the Neman to the Atlantic and from Finland to Sicily without at any point having to dig out a passport. We can use one and the same currency across much of Europe, and we buy Spanish shoes or Czech cars without paying extra customs charges. In many parts of Germany, we get treatment from Polish doctors – and we are grateful that they are here to help keep our health centres open. Our entrepreneurs are increasingly employing staff from all the EU’s member states, people who would often find no jobs, or have to work for far worse conditions, in their home countries. And some of our pensioners spend their retirement years on the Spanish coast or on the Baltic in Poland. In a very positive way, therefore, more Europe has become part of our everyday lives.
That is why the results of polls only seem contradictory at first glance. People may have been expressing more and more scepticism about the EU in recent years, but the majority remain convinced that the complex and increasingly globalized reality we live in calls for some supranational order. Coming together has brought major political and economic benefits to all of us in Europe.
(Era preciso alguém avisá-lo que essas vantagens da Europa são válidas na perspectiva alemã, mas vistas do lado dos países que atravessam crises existenciais, estas vantagens valem cada vez menos. Por outro lado, vê-se que este é um discurso para os alemães, para que vejam que a União Europeia lhes traz vantagens.)
You school pupils who are here today – I know that your very first pocket money was in euros; you are learning at least two foreign languages; your school trips go to Paris, London, Madrid, maybe Warsaw, Prague or Budapest; and when you finish school, there will be scholarships open to you from Erasmus, or vocational training funds from the Leonardo da Vinci Programme. You and your peers in Europe often learn alongside one another, not about one another. You party together too, at European music festivals and in the vibrant cities around Europe. No previous generation has had so much occasion to say, “We are Europe!” And you really do get to experience “more Europe” than any generation that has gone before.
(É um facto incontornável, e é um factor muito positivo na construção de uma Europa mais unida)