For the past years, Europe hasn't been a success story in the eyes of many. For all states as well as its citizens, the Euro crisis signifies a huge challenge. Millions begun to question the meaning behind a unified Europe.
The EU and the International Monetary Fund forced countries such as Ireland, Poland, Spain and, of course, Greece and Cyprus to make enormous economizations and reforms, to stabilize their economies and hence also the Euro. In other states like Germany on the other hand, which support crisis countries through the various rescue funds into the billions, citizens were asking, if this would not overstrain the country's own performance.
Today -- shortly before the European elections -- we all can be a little relieved, take an interim balance and say: Yes, for now the efforts on both sides have been worth it. Europe, its states and the Euro did not prostrate. Signs of improvement can be seen everywhere; for now, the severe crisis has been overcome, even if Europe is still not out of the woods.
Through our mutual efforts, the House of Europe has become more stable overall, because the rules for the national budgets have become more binding or because we look more carefully at the banks of the continent to see if they endanger the community.
Reforms are often preceded by a tough struggle. But in the past crisis, Europe and its institutions have proven themselves, even if we might get upset about the size of the commission or one or two regulations from Brussels. Even the European Parliament has contributed its share, so we can catch a breath. In hindsight of the past difficult years, we all have reason to express our trust in this Europe through a participation in the elections on May 25. Europe is on the right track. In the end, we all benefit from it. Even the citizens should make it clear this Sunday.
Up to a few weeks ago, I would have finished my post at this point. I probably would have thought that especially young people could only be motivated through this review of the past years and the actual balance, to participate at the elections. I'm almost 65 years old and for me, Europe has always been more than an event of Euro and Cent. My generation has always been characterized by Europe and its value and peace community. But in Germany, unlike in Eastern Europe, this has been buried in oblivion. And then there was the Ukraine crisis.
If one can get something positive out of the Russian politics of the first months of 2014, than it would be the fact that they recalled in all of us the deep meaning of the community of the free people of Europe. Because today, the original thought of European integration is as topical as back in 1957, when the Roman Treaties were signed: Europe is a continent of peace and freedom, a community of states, which have been unified for their own benefit. Europe is also a continent that fights whenever this freedom is threatened or its values are being questioned.
People who vote on May 25 also agree to this community of values. It does matter, whether you decide to stay home or visit the polling station. And, of course, one should elect the right party. But this should be easy, if you remember who strongly contributed to us overcoming the recent crisis and who has always been stabilizing Europe -- also in the past weeks. A vote for parties, who oppose Europe, is not something that our Europe has deserved.