Today, the IHT reprinted post referendum reflections about Europe by former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt that were first published last Thursday in the German weekly Die Zeit.
I’m sure some will call it elitism in light of the recent constitutional referanda, but Schmidt still believes that real political leadership is now more important than ever in Europe, for
[b]ecause Europeans can look back on more than a millennium of national development, the Union cannot be brought to completion in just a few decades by ministers and diplomats: The EU needs the consent and will of its citizens. The coming experience of increasing helplessness of smaller and medium-sized nations acting alone will increasingly convince their citizens of the need for the Union, but that will take time and perseverance.
Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, Val?ry Giscard d’Estaing, Jacques Delors, many of the old guard knew: We can repress the historically created egocentric nationalism of Europeans only gradually. Today’s statesmen and the overzealous Brussels commissioners should follow this example.