In the same way, we should not define a closed club for those who could be members of it, let’s define the way forward, the method, and all those who have the ambition, desire and power will be in it, without blocking or stopping the others.
There is only one ambition in these proposals for action which I’ve just set out, the initiatives I’m proposing to those partners who want it and the course I wanted to map out before you: to give Europe back to itself and give it back to European citizens. We must convince them that the past 70 years did not simply happen by chance but were the fruit of an unyielding determination anchored in sheer optimism.
We have to rediscover the ambition of a Europe which allowed us to turn our backs on war. Today we know almost nothing any more about the destroyed towns and cities, the barbed wire which divided, which was at the heart of Europe, the fathers, sisters, children whom people, with a lump in their throats, buried because of tragedy. We no longer come across people in our streets whom the war left grief-stricken because fanaticism and nationalism once gained the upper hand over peoples’ consciences.
But we are already seeing the beginnings once again of what could destroy the peace we blissfully enjoy. So I say to you, this whole ambition we are championing is about giving people’s consciences a jolt; we’ve got to take responsibility for this at a time when obscurantism is reawakening just about everywhere in Europe. Let us ask ourselves a serious question about the kind of future we want, and find the courage to build it all together.
And I say this to all the European leaders, to all members of parliament in Europe, to all European people: look at our times, look at them closely and you’ll see that you have no choice, you don’t have the luxury of the generation preceding us, which could manage what had been achieved and had scarcely been built. You don’t have the luxury they had. You have only a simple choice: making a bit more room at each election for nationalists, for those who hate Europe — and, in five, 10, 15 years they’ll be there. We have already seen them win here!
Or you can choose to shoulder your responsibilities, everywhere, and want this Europe, taking every risk, each of us in our own country, because we must have this heartfelt commitment, because the scars which disfigured our Europe are our scars!
So we must champion this ambition now. Now, because the time has come, a wakeup call for our fellow citizens, but also because above all it’s our responsibility to our young people throughout Europe. Those in charge are taking responsibility today for leaving our young people under the influence of every extreme, for offering them a future which won’t have the luxury we have had — that of choosing one’s own destiny — and for consigning our young people to a history that repeats itself.