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The State of the Union: Mattarella, “educating for European integration starting from schools”. “Alluring, unrealistic” nationalism

Il Presidente Mattarella con il Presidente d'Irlanda Michael Higgins alla conferenza The State of The Union all'Istituto universitario europeo

“Too often, and for too many years, Europe has been described as bureaucratic, complex and hardly intelligible entity, by superficial reports, in all Member Countries. Europe has been given responsibility for unpopular measures, and for causing loss of traditions and customs by local communities, in the name of integration”. Those words were spoken by President Mattarella during the final part of his speech for The State of the Union. “In fact, decisions, even questionable decisions, have always been the outcome of democratic debate of governments in the European Council, with the support of the European Parliament”. “Of course, the adoption of some measures as well as the beginning of some policies might have been more respectful of specific national problems and feelings, in order to focus on social cohesion as well as fiscal consolidation”. According to Mattarella, “explaining how the integration of a single sector is part of the principle of solidarity is the primary responsibility of national ruling classes; a broader approach is an extensive plan in which peace, wellness and prosperity originate from abandoning single sector-specific advantages, with the aim of sharing more important goals, taking a common, virtuous path, in which everyone is protagonist”. The Head of State asked for action stimulating awareness and encouraging training for European integration: “That action should begin in schools, where European training should start in early years – he said. It should continue for the whole school period until university, where Erasmus and the other programmes for youth mobility have been playing an important role”. “It is necessary to start from schools in order to rediscover Europe as a big project, getting rid of particular tendencies with no future, regardless of all those souverainism reports eventually proposing alluring but unrealistic solutions, and besides, blaming the Union for their impracticability”. At the same time, it is necessary “to reactivate the lifeblood of European construction, its deepest meaning, solidarity among peoples, countries and institutions, giving new energy to the integration process, and producing new and long-lasting collective advantages, following the strategy illustrated in the Declaration of Rome just over one year ago”, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of EEC foundation. Finally: “The sophisticated European architecture needs careful and continuous maintenance, for preserving solid institutions, reflecting the solidarity spirit animating the founding fathers, and being aware of the challenges we have to face”.

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