Tag Archives: 2017

Why Dunkirk must not be hi-jacked by the #Brexiteers

The post below is not from me but from The Independent and taken from the Vote for Europe Facebook page, shared by Cliff Dartnell. It so sums up my feelings that I wanted to capture it, and then share it for others to read maybe.

“The Remain and Leave campaigns were essentially run like accountants projects: how much do we put in, how much do we get out, how much will it cost us or gain us to leave or to stay.

Nobody ever talked about what it means to be a European, nobody defended it.

The continent had been at war for centuries, and then there were the two world wars. Anyone who ever became aware of the horrors that took place in Flanders Fields in Belgium can never forget them and can never allow them to be forgotten either.

Belgium became a driving force between what would later become the EU. In 1957 – just 12 years after the second devastating world war – visionary leaders of six countries – Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Italy and Germany signed an agreement, the Treaty of Rome. They were determined to make sure there would not be a third world war between their countries. To prevent another war, they committed to laying the foundations of an ever closer union of their peoples based on solidarity. They wanted their peoples to get to know each other, to learn and experience how much they all have in common, and to advance those shared values, to form the basis of a lasting peace for all of us.

Their peoples weren’t ready for it. Many were still struggling with the loss of loved ones in the wars, there was much distrust, the issue of collaboration had caused deep wounds in societies. But these visionary political leaders did what leaders are meant to do: they led. They stood up, and led their peoples, away from enmity and into a partnership that would eventually lead to close friendships.

By 1985 – that is only 40 years after the last devastating war – their peoples and their countries had developed enough (and so much) trust among them to sign the Schengen Accords, with which one border zone was created of which the member states guarded the external borders so that the inner borders could be lifted.

Think about what formidable achievement that was: countries who had been at war for centuries, the last one only 40 years ago – now lifted their mutual borders!

Several other countries joined in, as a result of which the Southern border of Belgium no longer is with France and Luxembourg, it is with the Mediterranean. Our Eastern border no longer is with Germany, it is with Ukraine. Our most Western border now is with the Atlantic in Portugal etc.

As a result, the peoples of these countries became friends. We all live in the same House. We all became Europeans, aware of how much we have in common, sharing and advancing the same core values while each retaining our individuality and diversity, sharing the same dream as the visionaries who had laid the foundations of this formidable peace project for a lasting peace for all of us, in unity while retaining our diversity, in solidarity.

The UK did not take part in The Treaty of Rome. The UK did not take part in Schengen. It just signed up for a skeleton EU membership, with all kinds of opt-outs to strip it from what it means to be European. You missed the whole point. Being European means building bridges across divides, it means bringing people together around what they share.

Unfortunately – and tellingly – Brexit is the exact opposite, inward looking and divisive as it is.

And let me add that with this Dunkirk talk, Brexit is becoming dangerous too. It is evoking and promoting enmity of the world wars – this is complete and total, dangerous, reckless madness. We all know what this sort of thing has led to before in the past.”