The State of the Union I

EPA/MAURIZIO DEGL' INNOCENTI

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker speaks during the State of the Union conference organized by the European University Institute at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy, 05 May 2017.

The State of the Union I


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The “State of the Union Address” is the annual legendary speech the US President, aka POTUS, has delivered to the American people since 1790. It is an American institution and it is provided by the US Constitution.

Our Treaty, provides that the President of the European Commission must regularly address Europeans, but nowhere does it mention “State of the Union Address”.  This terminology was introduced by Jose Manuel Barroso in 2010 in a framework agreement between the Commission and the Parliament. At the time, it seemed as an “act of faith” of the colony to the metropolis. Exaggerated loyalty to Barroso’s transatlantic friends. And in any case, we must keep in mind which is the metropolis and which is the colony. This exaggerated loyalty to Washington, might have been one good reason Barroso did not win a third term.

The first “State of the Union” was delivered by George Washington in 1790 and the most recent was by Donald Trump, earlier this year, on February 28.

What I cannot understand is why six months later, my president, Jean Claude Juncker, should follow POTUS like a faithful dog. I know very well that this is neither true nor reflects the intentions of my President. But in our world where communication is the king and perceptions are our reality, I do not see why the President of the EU did not ask the advice of a real, not fake, communication expert on the matter.

As we are talking of logical semantics, the term “State of the Union Address” should be erased from the European vocabulary. It must be replaced by something else.

“Urbi et Orbi”.  Why not? This is what the traditional Easter address of the Pope has been called since the 13th century. It literally means an address “to the city (of Rome) and the world”. In our days’ terms it can be transposed, “to Europe and the world”.

Christianity is more than a religion. It is a civilization. The civilization of our times since two millennia. Christian principles are not only about faith, are more than that.

Yes, “Urbi et Orbi” conceptually, leads to a Christian tradition. What is wrong with that? Christianity is the religion of Europe. It is our duty to welcome and respect all religions and dogmas. This is also a European tradition introduced by Emperor Adrianos in 126 AD, when he constructed “Pantheon” (all Gods), a general-purpose church where everybody could go freely and pray for his God. Respect yes, but we should not abnegate what we are.

The content of the “Urbi et Orbi address our President will deliver to the people of Europe and the world this week is far more important than the format. To this effect, I do not know what he will say and it is not that important, after all, as he will not speak about what European would like to hear.

This is what I know and it is what ordinary Europeans would like to hear from their President.

The European Union was put together some six decades ago by the people of Europe, in search of peace, freedom, security and prosperity.

This is what all Europeans do know. They also do know that after six decades, in Europe there is no peace, no freedom, no security and no prosperity.

Peace. Europeans do not enjoy peace only because or just because the German-French frontier is peaceful. The Western Balkans, the soft underbelly of Europe, were bombed with Depleted Uranium Ordinance (DUO) less than two decades ago.

Freedom. Over-regulation has killed any initiative to create and produce.

Security. You’re kidding! Europeans are afraid to use the metro.

And, finally,

Prosperity. Yes, with stagnation and ever growing unemployment among our youth and the middle class depleting every day.

What Europeans expect to hear from their President, is what he will do for them to resolve their problems. The smile and the hope to return in our life.

Not much is needed for this. Simple yet bold and efficient steps, and courage. Lots of political courage, and determination.

Tomorrow, I will tell you what ordinary European citizens would like to hear from their President.

 

 

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