This year is the centenary of the start of World War I and 75th anniversary of the start of World War II. Both tore Europe apart, and nobody who took part in those bloody conflicts could have imagined that one day Europe be a continent of economic prosperity, freedom of movement, peace, stability and solidarity. But looking at the crisis on our eastern borders makes it plain we must never take peace and prosperity for granted, and that’s why John McCormick’s book "Why Europe Matters" comes at just the right time.
He argues very clearly in support of the benefits of European Union, emphasising that only by acting as a union can we Europeans pull our weight on the world stage; whether when defending our interests in international trade, securing our energy, seeking to develop a strong security and defence policy or restoring people's sense of fairness by fighting tax fraud. Only together, he stresses, can member states adequately respond to global changes and challenges.
It is true that the EU needs to focus less on detailed regulation and more on the key topics that directly affect its citizens. This is what we members of the European Parliament fight for. We abolished norms on olive oil cans and cucumbers, but adopted rules for a banking union because it is a precondition for a financially strong Europe that can guarantee tax-payers will no longer have to stand on the front-line to save failing banks.
John McCormick is right to stress that many of the eurosceptics who criticise the EU come up with contradictory arguments. They want to solve global problems of the 21st century with solutions of the 18th, ignoring our common history and challenges. Nationalism has never solved any global problems.
Nor does McCormick forget to highlight that the EU is more than a body of laws and a network of institutions, and that goes far beyond being a single market. The European ideal touches the very foundations of society. It is about values, and is based on a firm belief in political, social and economic standards, grounded in our social market economy. "Why Europe Matters" is definitely worth a read – both for citizens and experts – because it provides a clear understanding of the EU and reminds us of the true value of the greatest peace project in history.