Lambilliotte, Maurice: Making Europe

Faire l’Europe!, Synthèses, Revue Mensuelle Internationale, vol.3, No 6, Sept. 1948.
From W.Lipgens and W. Loth, Documents on the History of European Integration, De Gruyter, 1988

lambilliotte We must make Europe. But before setting about a task of which the size and complexity are obvious to all, we must be clear as to exactly what we want, and formulate problems in precise terms.

We have had enough speeches. People have been talking of Europe for a long time. It is as ambiguous a term as any can be. One might almost say that there are as many Europes as there are people speaking or writing on the subject: politicians, commentators, journalists, lecturers.

But the public at large, the mass of individuals confronted by unceasing material problems -jobs, wages, doubtful guarantees of the future; those who live in a constant state of anxiety and discouragement- these men and women are not yet truly alive to European problems.

Those who go hungry, who lack the necessities of life or a minimum of comfort, or simply fear that they may lose these things; all who dread another war, knowing that they will again be its victims, or a slump which will mean ruin, unemployment, chronic and tragic insecurity; all such as these, whether workmen, peasants, clerks, small traders, craftsmen and manufacturers, take little interest in the more or less sober accounts of Europe, the theme and its variations, to which they have been treated for the past two years.

The people, who are the stuff of which nations are made, have had enough of words and slogans that are personified as if they were divinities or at least real forces. There have been enough speeches, enough sighs, tears and entreaties, vehement and pathetic appeals in the name of Europe, Christian civilization, the defence of the West, our common heritage and so forth. We must bring back the problem to its proper ground, and state the issue simply and clearly.

Peace, Employment, Welfare

Europe is not the expression of a learned political construction, or even the historical or geographical embodiment of a civilization or way of life. It is a much diversified area of our planet in which millions of human beings still live in uncertainty and gloomy despair, so deep-seated that one almost hopes it will lead to an outbreak of savage and righteous wrath.

These men and women do not accept the implacable fatality of war; nor will they put up with blindly serving the interests of others, or ideologies that represent only pride, fanaticism, or the thirst of minorities for power. They do not aspire to some mythical form of liberty which cannot be achieved in practice. What they think it right to demand is a certain degree of freedom in life and especially in the realm of personal feeling; also freedom of thought, and hence a modicum of the right to criticize.

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