March 11, 2008
If the EU is about one thing, then it is about getting rid of barriers that separate people.
The fall of the Berlin Wall epitomizes the hope for a Europe without divisions, a Europe built on civic involvement.
The velvet revolutions ‘in the East’ and the reforms that followed show that the EU can have a profound meaning for people who seek to give their societies a new direction and to become part of a community that allows them to unfold their potentials and to build something new.
Therefore, I hope that we will all celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain in 2009 – and the people and organisations that took active part in bringing it down.
2009 will also be the 5th anniversary of the first EU enlargement to the former Communist bloc and the year of the first common EP Elections for all current EU citizens.
But let’s remember that Europe once looked very different.
Europeans have managed to overcome wars and nationalism in its most destructive forms and to reconcile with their neighbours.
And yet many walls remain.
Freedom of movement is still limited for many in the EU and social disparities, mutual ignorance and distrust persist. Borders have moved further east and the relationship of the EU with its neighbours is uneasy.
I hope 2009 will be a year in which everybody will renew their commitment to a Europe without border, a year to remember that Europe still means a lot to many on the other side of the wall.Author : EMI