The Pan-European Union and the United Kingdom
When the United Kingdom joined the European Community in 1973, the Pan-European Union welcomed that warmly, even though its founder Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi did not consider this at the time of foundation, fifty years earlier, in a very different geopolitical situation.
Full of rich history and universal culture, the United Kingdom showed that it has chosen to bring, with its financial and economic power, a constructive contribution to the peaceful unification of European states in one collective project and to end mistrust and rivalries that put it in opposition to the European continent.
In forty-one years of membership in this venture, that is as historic as it is revolutionary, the United Kingdom has broadly participated in the implementation of a wide market open to free movement of people, goods, and capital within the European Union.
However, the United Kingdom never ceased to reduce and in some cases to prohibit the adoption of common policies that were desired by its partners and that resulted from their membership in the Union and from the treaties that they had ratified. Outside of the Eurozone and Schengen, London has willingly denied to contribute, on one side its monetary competency, and on the other side its expertise.
As the European Union faces major issues and several threats of conflicts in its immediate neighbourhood, it needs to consolidate itself with strength and solidarity more than ever.
This is the reason why, in a particularly dangerous context, where sectarian nationalisms and racist xenophobia rise and with the prospect of the British referendum, the European Union should reaffirm, without hesitation, its commitment to a strong and solidary Europe.
Strasbourg, 20 February 2016
President of the International Pan-European Union