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Peace is not perpetual, nor should war be

Intervention of Sandro Gozi on the occasion of the 1 year of the conflict in Ukraine

We thought we had gotten rid of it. We had lost sight of the fact that war is not an old trick buried forever in the trunk of the past. In fact, for the past 70 years we thought we were living without enemies or borders. Worse still, the war in Yugoslavia, as harsh and violent as it was, was seen by most Europeans as a parenthesis at the gates of our Community. We saw the disasters of that war and the tragedy of Sarajevo, but even these horrors did not really shake European public opinion. Thus, since 1945, we had become the spoiled children of peace. We were floating in an era of eternal insensitivity — until Feb. 24, when the tragedy returned to our continent.

grayscale photo of soldiers on battle tank

At the time of this sinister anniversary, it is not a matter of undertaking a Girardian analysis to explain the blind rage of men that drives them to desire and hate the individual or the country next door.
This is not the time to decipher, but to force us to go beyond ourselves. It is clear that this Russian invasion of Ukraine is undoubtedly the most powerful lever that highlights the importance of unity and integration. Zelensky, in the face of the unspeakable, managed to awaken exceptional national unity and anchor himself even more firmly in European values.
Out of this conflict came a solidarity through fear that strengthened our European solidarity in the face of the invader.
“War is the continuation of politics by other means,” said Carl Von Clausewitz. Today, I think we can add to the military theorist’s words “and vice versa.”
Indeed, is politics not a continuation of war? I believe it is.
So let us follow in the footsteps of the Founding Fathers who, after the war, thought about Europe. We must have the courage to think about tomorrow’s Europe with this same following in this same wake.

It is time to overcome the emotional mechanism and reconcile the idea of Europe with the idea of power. Power to which Ukraine and other countries dream of being linked.
But we must be realistic: to accommodate them properly, we must revise our treaties, which were designed in the last century for a Europe of 6, not for a Europe of 27, 30 or 35 countries.
This conflict requires us to fundamentally overhaul our political and institutional organization.
This conflict requires us to fundamentally overhaul our political and institutional organization. The European Union can no longer suffer from the limitations imposed by its institutional structure, its imperfect distribution of competencies and its decision-making process, which is unsuitable for building a truly political and federal Union.

We must overcome the false debate between national and European sovereignty.
We need the will to move forward, united, with a giant step toward a common defense policy.
“European strategic sovereignty” is needed more than ever. Everyone must understand that without a sovereign Europe, with a real capacity for action, we risk losing Europe, but also our member states.
As of February 24, 2022, the European continent has annihilated all its certainties and illusions about not repeating the horrors of the 20th century. Peace is not perpetual, nor should war be.
History invites us to a new constituent moment-let’s listen to it.

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