When you look at 2018, at where we are, as the European Union, what do you see? Times have been turbulent in the last ten years. Most people would agree that they will only become even more turbulent. We are at a stage in which the American Empire is in decline and the Chinese empire is on the rise. At the same time the world is facing a multitude of different problems, from environmental issues to interminable wars, savagery, and destruction.
In Europe we are mostly protected from the catastrophes that befall the rest of the world. Only in the periphery, in Ukraine, have we had any armed conflict in recent years. However, refugees have come to our door, and through it, bringing with them challenges of how to manage the influx. Environmentally, we have proven unable to quench the raging fires of consumption. And economically, our growth has been anaemic for a long time, with the internal distribution of wealth becoming ever more skewed. Our population may not decline in the next fifty years, according to projections, but will stay roughly constant. However, other countries will have tremendous growth. Nigeria is projected to have four times as many people as Germany in 2050, for example. As noted by Jean-Claude Juncker, by 2050 we will be just 500 million out of 10 billion people.
What’s past is past. What we can influence, what we can try to change, is the future. But we must have the tools to do so.
Is there hope for our Union?
So, can we, as Europeans, still make our voices heard? How best can we protect ourselves in a tumultuous future, against risks and dangers that we have not encountered for a long time? Perhaps more importantly, how can we influence the world?
We have goals, we have ambitions. We might want to reduce poverty, move the rest of the world towards renewable energy We might want to ensure that the duties we have towards each other as members of a society are not forgotten. We might not want to let anyone within our borders go hungry, live on the street, or be unable to heat their home. We might wish to innovate and push the boundaries of technology further, with all the economic and social benefits that can bring. We might want to provide affordable and quality healthcare for all of us Europeans. We might want to tackle corruption and be proud of our institutions and of our functionaries.
The challenges of the future are numerous. We need to build the capability to deal with them if we are to see our desires and values become reality. However in many cases, the European point of view is not heard across our own continent. Our media have a narrow national perspective. Those of us who do not read our national media tend to read either British media, which have their own national perspective, or American media, which are even further removed. Articles in those media tend to be written to represent particular British and American interests.
What is our goal?
And therefore we decided to start La Nouvelle Union. The New Union in English. Our goal is to represent the European point of view in this new periodical. We will write across the following sections:
News & Opinion, for commentary and insight on current affairs.
Society, for a more measured, exploratory and educational view of European society. Society is a broad term; it can include technology, education, healthcare, security and in general to examine how systems ultimately lead to results.
World, to examine events outside our borders with a critical eye, to see how we can affect the world, and conversely how we will be affected by it.
And finally, a section with interviews. For interesting interviews with various Europeans, from ordinary people to leaders of civil society to political figures.
We must always keep an eye on the world beyond Europe. As individual states, we are too small to determine our own destiny. Can a Portugal of 10 million people resist the wishes of a China of 1300 million? Can the Netherlands of 15 million people negotiate from a position of strength with Erdogan of Turkey, or Putin of Russia? However, internally as well, we face a number of challenges in the future, from economic, environmental, to social issues. Throughout this article, I pose a question: Who does the future belong to?
We must try to make sure it belongs to us.
Crédit photo: Markos Loizou