10 fevereiro 2012

An open letter to Europe

When Mrs. Merkel was elected German Chancellor, she saw her predecessor Gerard Schroeder leaving for a profitable position provided by the questionable Russian democracy. Gas was the motive of that influence peddling and Europe is now at the mercy of Mr. Putin. Chancellor Merkel travels to China and Portuguese-speaking African countries. For clearly commercial purposes, Mrs. Merkel goes to Brazil and other South American countries, some of which are democracies that strangely resemble the Bonapartist model. Never mind the ethical arguments, because the business world does not stop at trifles, especially if Mercedes Benz or any other large German company can charge attractive dividends by exchanging technology for cash.

The CDU-SPD duo in the persons of Merkel and Schultz does not have a centennial historical memory that could allow them to look with some caution at the relations that a country like Portugal, nine centuries old, has established for over half a millennium with other continents. When the Portuguese arrived in China, the geographical expression of Germany lived fratricidal religious wars and its hundreds of micro-states were fighting for tiny portions of land, a piece of river that could offer a slight advantage over the others. All this in a framework of an illusory I Reich destroyed two hundred years ago by another European project, undoubtedly as imperial as the one some now seem to desire. France, that now follows Berlin’s purposes, had its brief moment of glory for a decade – actually undermined in Portuguese territory, where together with its traditional British ally Portugal fought and won for true freedom in the Europe of nations. Germany itself, the recent creation of just over a century, benefited from this Luso-British sacrifice, hearing the birth of its national consciousness in the bells tolled in Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro and London’s victory celebrations.

Portugal has its own foreign policy, not depleted in mere accounting exercises or transfers of funds. Unlike twenty-five other states of the European Union, our language, just like English, is spoken in four continents, the very ones that today's German businessmen and politicians ambition having as business partners. Portugal can, should and must participate in this effort to modernize and diversify its economy, which unlike Germany, will further complement the existing deep cultural relations with Africa, Asia and America. Never have the Portuguese allowed the imposition of Continental Blockades, free trade prohibitions or outrageous limitations of its sovereignty. The communitarian Europe that Portugal joined was the one that existed in 1995, very different in purposes and fundamentals from the Europe that some want to impose nowadays, countering the national sovereignties and identities and forgetting that only these allow for the international expression of the different peoples’ wills, formulated through the democratic institutions where they feel truly represented. It is through the plurality of belongings and the diversification of external relations that European states can best contribute to fulfil the Universalist vocation of the European Union in face of the challenges posed by globalization.

Germans must be warned of the dangers arising from the ignorance and adventurous spirit of its unconscious leaders. This is certainly a task for one of the three oldest countries in the Old Continent, precisely the one that has made Europe known to the world.

Miguel Castelo-Branco

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