It was following the Second World War when six European countries planted the seeds of the EU through a political and economic cooperation within the framework of the European Coal and Steel Community (EEC). And with a name change to the EU in 1993, this economic union of 28 member states was instituted as a kind of a partnership that would act as a market enabling free travel of most goods, services, money and people through the enactment of treaties and binding agreements.
The priorities set by the cooperation target for boosting of jobs, growth, investment, a digital single market, an energy union, monetary goals, freed trade agreements and industrial progress. It is assumed that when the separate countries of Europe come together and join their productive resources they would build a global actor that would merit the 500 million inhabitants with more jobs, wages or liberties. Trying to form a united whole in disregard of the humane quality of this body has obviously not produced the expected outcome. The EU has experienced economic crises since the day of its foundation with unemployment rates increasing, now a crisis of the common currency, poverty and social exclusion, low-income households, the weakening of stabilization and economic shocks.
From the first day of its institution, the EU has been lacking the “cornerstone” at the foundation of any unity: Love.
Expecting bonds to form through material interests has not culminated in solidarity by which a true unity could be established. This partnership intended for enhancing the economies of its members and fostering trade relations could not reconcile the east with the west, or the north with the south. Stronger economies find the weaker ones a burden; the EU has an unrecoverable crack right at its core. That is why the supposition for an integrated Europe has been shaken in the face of conflicts arising due to differences in traditional cultures, political preferences, and competition over resources, regional tensions and the ongoing discrimination against various races, ethnic groups and nationalities within the member states.
By means of economic interdependence, it was assumed that the European countries that fought against one another during the two world wars would avoid future conflicts. Yet, Europe is now fracturing due to the impact of an ongoing financial and economic crisis with a political and social dimension. The so-called European integration model is unraveling because now some members are regarded to be a burden, accused of acting fiscally irresponsible, and considered to be “tossed out of the EU” because of their debt crisis, astronomic levels of unemployment, and severe recessions. Contrary to any sign of solidarity, there is much discord between the economically poorer and stronger members. And that is why there is the rise of a growing Eurosceptic public, and ‘Grexit’ as well as ‘Brexit’ are the recent concerns on the EU’s agenda.
Without building bridges across the hearts of European peoples through moral values of love, compassion, mercy, self-giving, guardianship, forgiveness, and affection, it is not possible to overcome the distrust and resentment that is expanding throughout the member states of the EU. There are already separatist mobilization movements in the continent, and 100 groups in 28 countries are working for greater autonomy from the central government or self-determination from their motherland. Catalonia, Scotland, Venice and Flanders are to name but a few of the winds blowing apart the member states and the union at large. What is more, the EU hosts some 60 million people representing various ethnic and religious minorities that constitute 12% of the EU’s total population. The member states are already facing issues of discrimination against the Roma people with around 10 to12 million Roma living in the EU. Despite the much- talked about standards that are presumed to be benefiting the entire community, the Roma are all too often treated unfairly, frequently living in poor and isolated conditions; they cannot find employment opportunities, and they are socially segregated based on their ethnic background.
The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) reported a total of 47,210 racist crimes across the European Union evidencing that Muslims, people of African descent and black Europeans, as well as Roma are targeted by racially motivated crimes. Among the more shocking findings is that Muslim women are more likely to be victims of Islamophobic crimes than men, and these crimes are often physical and quite violent.Anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish citizens are also prevalent in many European countries; the Jewish community feels that prosecutors or the police in the relevant countries do not take such cases seriously. There is also an invisible Afrophobia – institutional racism and discrimination targeting Black people or people of African descent – rooted in the Social Darwinist practices of colonialism and slavery, boosted by claims of so-called white supremacy.
This rise in hate crimes, the ongoing crisis and depression throughout the Western world that is regarded to be the “foremost-civilized” part of our globe is due to the absence of love, the most vital need of life, in European societies. That is why the cutting-edge technologies, ultra modern production techniques, new transportation methods or innovations do not benefit the people of the continent. They do not bring them the happiness, contentment and security, which all individuals seek throughout their lifetime.
In order to find recovery out of this downturn, the right cornerstone must be placed the center of the EU; the path of love and compassion, the guidance for all of humanity in all their endeavors ranging across economic, political, educational and social realms.