The notion of a strong Europe is currently losing substance. The sovereign debt – and Euro crisis seems to have melted down the European idea to a mere cost-benefit calculation, thus leaving socio-political aspects mostly unattended. The frustration and resignation in various European countries prove, that decisions, that are based on mere economic pragmatism, are not suitable for the creation and maintenance of social and political prosperity. The process of European integration is on hold.
In this respect, the region of East-Central and Southeast Europe (MOSO) is in a central position. With the accession to the European Union, the people of e.g. the Balkans or Baltic states are not only hoping for economic upswing, but also for social and political change in their countries. Taking today’s reality into account, it has shown, that despite EU-membership some states were not able to overcome old socio-political issues. It seems as if the European Union has surrendered its ideals and values – such as democratic stability, social solidarity or the political security of peace and freedom – for contemporary economic-liberal ideologies. Therefore the European Union is neglecting their socio-political responsibilities for an European integration.
This negligence involves further consequences. EU-members, such as the Visegrad countries, have started to turn their back on the European Union and increasingly propagate nationalism rather than supranational cohesion. Even states, that have an eye on EU-membership, are losing the persuasion and passion for an European perspective. As a consequence, necessary political processes are on a standstill, resulting in social resignation and thus leading to political instability and a social lack of perspective in these countries.
The Forum für Mittelost- und Südosteuropa (FOMOSO) wants to counteract these desintegrational tendencies and seeks to move socio-political aspects of the European idea back in centre of political discussion. It is time to think outside the box and to find supplemental and innovative approaches, in order to further integrate and involve the region of East-Central and Southeast Europe in the European project. In this respect, it is important to mention that Europe is not solely dependent on the success or failure of the European Union. Europe is far more than just a quantity of institutions; it is an integral political project with certain major core values. Thus, the focus should be put on Europe’s strength, and not solely on the weaknesses of the European Union. With this principle, FOMOSO is standing firm behind the idea of a strong Europe.
Founder and head of Forum für Mittelost- und Südosteuropa (FOMOSO)
& OLBIOS Correspondent Switzerland