In the words of Aesop, the 6th Century Greek philosopher, « United we stand, divided we fall ». More and more in a post-Brexit Europe, European citizens are growing to appreciate the value of what being an EU member means and the benefits contained therein. So far reaching are these advantages that they have woven their way into the very fabric of society to shape our countries politically, economically, socially, environmentally, and beyond. Through both formal and informal cooperation and collaboration, we have reshaped what true « Europeanness » means over time.
The lessons we’ve learned along the way haven’t always been easy, with the first half of the 19th Century representing a particularly difficult period for intra-European relations, yet from this darkness we have learned and grown. The level of cooperation shown between the various countries involved has developed beyond mere tolerance and acceptance to drive us all towards a greater era of prosperity.
A key learning here is adaptation and changing with the times. Looking beyond our borders to other major unions and powers in other areas of the world, we can see that to stand still is to sink into obscurity. As the world becomes more interconnected and the age of online business continues to increase, the need to improve standards to stay ahead of the competition has become apparent to all. While we already have the tools and resources necessary to meet these challenges, it’s only through combining our knowledge and skillsets that we as Europeans can continue to grow and be at the forefront of positive development.
This not only rings true economically, but environmentally too. Thankfully in this area the benefits of European cooperation can already be seen, with Europe being home to some of the greenest countries on Earth through collaborative efforts between countries. Promoting inclusion and diversity, preparing for and responding to climate change, engaging in democratic and civil communities and thinking how digital transformation can help us is all part of our Europeanness. As we continue to travel, study and work together in a more inter-connected way, it is a true possibility that we are only in the early days of seeing what benefits European cooperation can bring not only to ourselves but the world as a whole.