The past year 2022 showed us even greater divisions in the European Union. At the beginning of 2023, we notice that this is not the same community of values that we wanted almost 19 years ago, when Poland joined the Union. Over the years, the lack of concern for the common good, respect for the diversity and sovereignty of the Member States has been felt with increasing intensity. What is visible is the progress of ideology, cynical play of interests and putting pressure on nations that respect the rule of law.
In view of the approaching 31st anniversary of the signing of the Maastricht Treaty (February 7, 1992), the leaders of European states and decision-makers in the individual structural bodies of the European Union should ask themselves the question Europe, quo vadis?
In 1992, as a result of the Treaty of Mastricht, the European Economic Community was transformed into the European Union, and thus the Commonwealth of Europe according to Robert Schuman’s concept took the form of a superstate. Schuman sought to build understanding between nations in the formula of community. The key stage in shaping the Community formula was the drawing up of the Schuman Declaration on 9 May 1950 by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Robert Schuman, in cooperation with the French politician and economist Jean Monnet. The outlined plan concerned the proposal to implement steel production and coal mining in Germany and France. It was supposed to bring France and Germany together economically.
Thanks to the coherent coordination of steel production and coal mining, it was possible to control the West German armaments industry and at the same time integrate it with other economies. In such a situation, war would become economically impossible. The effect of these activities was also to be an increase in the standard of living of societies. The signing of the Declaration contributed to the creation of the Coal and Steel Community, while maintaining the sovereignty of nation states, identity and autonomy. In 1957, six countries signed the Treaties of Rome, establishing the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). The fundamental experience around which the idea of the future of the continent crystallized in the 1940s was the difficult situation after the recently ended World War II. The first need of post-war Europe was cohesion, stabilizing the situation and strengthening peace between states. In Western Europe, economic cooperation within the communities of united countries was a symptom of the peaceful coexistence of nations and the will to reconcile. Peace in Europe is undoubtedly a primary value that seems obvious in the contemporary Union, and if not nurtured, it may turn out to be unstable. The idea of creating a community of European states was initiated by Jean Monnet, Konrad Adenauer, Robert Schuman and Denis de Rougemont. The founding fathers believed that only the unification of Europe could stop potential conflicts of war. Schuman spoke of Europe as a space where the biblical prophecy will be fulfilled in the future: a wolf will rest next to a lamb.
In the following years, Robert Schuman intended to develop the community relations of Nations in Europe to other areas of political, cultural, scientific, economic and social life. Referring to his words, it can be concluded that he did not want the creation of a superstate, which is noticeable nowadays. “My idea is not to bring countries together to create a superstate. Our European countries are a historical reality. It would be psychologically impossible and unwise to get rid of them. Their diversity is a good thing, and it makes no sense to remove them or make them equal or unify” (Robert Schuman). German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Italian Prime Minister Alcide de Gasperi thought similarly to R. Schuman at that time. The unequivocal convictions of the creators of European communities, active Christians, visible on the political forum, characterized the birth of European integration.
In the 1980s, the ideology of the Italian communist Altiero Spinelli came to the fore, who sought to introduce a Marxist view across the continent. In 1941, he contributed to the text known as the Ventotene Manifesto, in which he presented his vision of a united Europe. In the Ventotene Manifesto, initially titled “Towards a Free and United Europe”, the main thesis was that victory over fascism will not bring peace if the nation-states are not limited. According to the authors, unless a European federation (United States of Europe) is created, nation states in Europe will always be at war with each other. In 1984, the European Parliament adopted the so-called Spienelli’s plan. Without the support of national parliaments, the document was finally rejected. However, it provided an impulse for further work, which resulted in the establishment of the European Union. The controversial fact is that over the building of the European Parliament in Strasbourg there is the name of Spinelli, as the founding father of the European Union.
“There will be no unity of Europe until it is a community of spirit,” said Pope John Paul II, a great supporter of European integration. These words contain the essence of the conflict tearing the Old Continent apart. The Holy Father in his homily delivered in Gniezno on June 3, 1997 on the occasion of the 1000th anniversary of the death of St. Adalbert said: “The deepest foundation of unity was brought to Europe and strengthened for centuries by Christianity, with its Gospel, with its understanding of man and its contribution to the development of the history of peoples and nations. This is not an appropriation of history. For the history of Europe is a great river into which numerous tributaries and streams flow, and the diversity of traditions and cultures that make it up is its great wealth”. John Paul II also pointed out that “we instilled the idea of unification in Europe by concluding a real union with Lithuania, creating the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.”
It is worth recalling that the flag of the European Union was inspired by the figure of Mary with a visible halo, composed of twelve stars, which is housed in the cathedral in Strasbourg – the city where the seat of the Council of Europe is located. Arsène Heitz, the author of the flag, also came from there.
Since February 7, 1992, when the European Union was established, which in its concept is a model of a superstate and a negation of the idea of Robert Schuman, there has been a growing reluctance of European citizens to such a position adopted by Brussels. We remember how the actions of EU bodies over the last few years led to Brexit and other manifestations of disagreement and opposition to abandoning Robert Schuman’s ideas. They are the final wake-up call to change the functioning direction of the European Union.
The current economic, migration and financial crisis in Europe results from abandoning the vision of the Founding Fathers and adopting a model of integration contrary to the fundamental values: Christianity, freedom, solidarity, diversity and patriotism.
Striving for unanimity and compromise in the most important matters for the Union was replaced by presenting a false image of Poland. An ideological struggle is taking place all the time in the European Parliament dominated by left-liberal circles, and subsequent debates, resolutions and reports are the best example of this.
After the death of Robert Schuman, his thoughts and goals ceased to be implemented, and even counter-productive actions were started, leading to gradual destruction, the following negative effects of which we observe with increasing intensity. These are: ideological secularism, oligarchization and restriction of freedom, anti-Solidarity dictate of the strong, administrative and bureaucratic uniformity, promotion of cosmopolitanism and uprooting Europeans from their native national cultures.
The ongoing beatification process of Robert Schuman is a very important reminder of the importance of the value of his ideas for Europe and the world. In his political activity, he was able to combine a sense of mission with responsibility for Europe, as well as openness with attachment to professed values. Many of his ideas are still valid today. Receiving a deeply religious upbringing from his mother, Schuman’s political activities were often guided by universal Christian values: unity, solidarity and peace. He believed that democracy owes its existence to Christianity. It was born when man was called to realize in his life the principle of the dignity of the human person, within the framework of personal freedom, respect for the rights of everyone and by practicing brotherly love towards everyone.
Europe, which is proud of its European heritage and longs to restore European community and unity as a source of true freedom and solidarity between people,
Europe, who appreciate the contribution of Christianity to the construction of European civilization, whose foundations are currently being destroyed,
Europe, the community of European nations, which is shaking in its foundations, and we Europeans are becoming more and more strangers to each other,
Europe, the love of freedom is our great bond. It can also be a great gift for people from other cultures who want to tie their future with Europe, fully accepting its heritage, culture and tradition,