Permanent Atlas of the European Union
and Pascale JOANNIN
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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS TO THE EU ATLAS 2016
You are opening a book which will provide you with invaluable facts and information about all the Member States of the European Union. I very much welcome this precious initiative which comes in quite a difficult period for our European family.
Yes, today´s Europe is different. A decade ago, we would never have suspected that we would be facing such problems like the economic crisis, widening social disparities and high unemployment rates especially among the young generation, and most importantly, we did not foresee such challenges like the massive wave of migration or terrorism.
The project of European reunification was conceived primarily as a security project. It was designed to ensure a constructive and mutually advantageous cooperation among European countries, with the aim of preventing Europe from becoming a hotbed of a global or continental-scale war ever again. The British referendum has caused a serious dent to that project and its result will have a serious impact on the future and the direction of the EU. The severity of this impact will be decided by both sides, the EU and the UK. Despite the referendum result, I hope that the UK will remain an important partner to the EU and an ally to NATO, as it is in the mutual interest of both sides to maintain and develop the best possible relations. The European community should understand the message that was sent by the British voters, acknowledging it as a reaction to the fact that our politics need change. In particular, the European Union is in need of deep structural reform in term of its Member States' economies, and their social systems; it also requires much more intensive cooperation and concrete results in the fields of security and citizens' protection. We should perceive the British referendum as an opportunity to implement these changes.
The EU can only continue if it is attractive, strong and confident and if it brings added value to its individual members.
The result of the US presidential elections also raise questions as well as disconcerting us as to whether Europe has assumed enough responsibility in foreign policy, security and defence. This should be kept in mind in our efforts to fight against populism and to enforce politics that is based on values.
I would like to conclude this introduction with a view to the future. Looking at the challenges we face in the fast-changing and globalising world, I think it is clear that the EU needs to start a process of self-reflection.
It needs a new vision and it needs action. Step by step, we are making corrections to our European house. However, this is not enough. We should go beyond mere corrections and strengthen the building and the development of our reunited Europe. We must do it in a manner that will provide all of us living in our common house with a better understanding of one another. That will make all of us feel at ease in our house. We need a clear as well as an attractive vision of our continued life together. Only in this way will we be able to find the right answers to our rapidly globalising and changing world.
Yet, in spite of all this, Europe continues to be free, and in comparison with the world around it, a relatively safe place in which to live, where the individual development of each person is fostered. To maintain it this way implies a great challenge.
In conclusion, I would like to express my appreciation for the cooperation between the Martens Centre and the Robert Schuman Foundation. I am delighted that we have had the opportunity to work together on this very useful project which provides us with an overview of the EU Member States that clearly confirms how unique the European project is. I believe that this publication will provide useful data to those who want to know more and it will also encourage all of us to familiarise ourselves with the EU, to narrow the gap between the European citizens and to continue building a more attractive, secure and safe place for us to live.
Mikuláš Dzurinda, President of the Wilfried Martens
Centre for European Studies
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THE EUROPEAN UNION FOR ALL
IN times of crisis, more so than in normal periods, the European Union has been present in the life of every single European citizen. However its complexity, the diversity of its Member States and its distance make it diffi cult to understand. Misconceptions feed opinions that are far from the reality.
This is why the Robert Schuman Foundation hopes to offer the public this collective work, whose statistical data can be updated in real time on an open, free website.
This atlas aims to bridge a gap. It offers its readers geographical maps of the very best quality that have been created with the support of the French Foreign Affairs Ministry which contributed its maps of the Union and its Member States to this work.
The dangers of history
But this atlas also takes some unusual risks. Europe's geography cannot be dissociated from its history. It is vivid and too rich for the geopolitical, economic and social problems of each of the Member States to be dealt with separately. And so we have tried to present a brief history of the European countries which are members of the Union, together with their statistics. Hence, we are perfectly aware of being over simplistic. The history of each of the Member States has been the subject of many detailed works and it deserves to be read in many more publications yet. We therefore ask the diplomats, experts and also the citizens of these countries to excuse our pretention in summarising history in just a few lines, which although accurate is but too brief. Please believe that we have taken this risk for the good cause, to encourage curiosity, to convince the reader that he or she should explore further, to improve his or her knowledge of our European partners.
Diversity and Unity
The history of the countries of Europe is incredibly rich. This continent is one of culture and inventions, the foremost of these being democracy.
During each period of history we fi nd a "Golden Age" whether this be Athenian, Roman, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Polish, British, German, French etc. During each age we discover artists, poets, philosophers, scientists, political leaders, industrialists who have all changed to course of humanity's history with their work, their inventions and their contributions to human thought. For each of these European countries, we recall their names in this book. The list is incomplete of course, butthose who do feature here correspond to all of these criteria. And readers should not be surprised if the dictators have not been mentioned, since in our opinion they are not "remarkable personalities"!
European diversity is only equalled by its unique contribution to mankind and it is probably this which sets it apart from the rest. The weight of history explains Europe's specific features. The construction of the States has also been that of the nations and within this framework democracy was created, i.e. the rule of law, the process of creating political legitimacy based on the election, the majority rule, the control and balance of power. The modern diffi culties encountered in terms of European integration, notably speaking as one, can also be explained by the citizens' attachment to their history. But necessity,the emergence of Continent-States, the opening of borders and the global aspect of international affairs, have also had their impact. European integration has progressively shown itself for what it is, a choice of reason particularly adapted to the requirements of the States of Europe. It is a unique example in the history of Man; it is one of a voluntary grouping of sovereign States which pool their strengths, i.e. certain aspects of their sovereignty to rise to the challenges they face. The presentation of the European Union will help readers understand what it has become: a true economic power, the voluntary grouping of people who have a great deal in common and of States which have decided to cooperate together before all others. The page specifi cally devoted to the euro area is a choice that has been dictated by the present context.
Europeans now nearly all share the same currency, which protects them and is extremely infl uential in the international arena. It stands as a powerful unifying factor, since it consolidates the common interests of the European populations in terms of economic competition and brings the most determinedof these together as they step up European cooperation. However, we hope to have shown that European unifi cation cannot just be reduced to the economy and fi nance. From the dream born after a deadly confl ict, the European Union has become a tangible reality, with its institutions, its laws and procedures. In the 20th century it provides peace, stability and prosperity to a continent that has been forged by war, treaties, glory and catastrophes. In the 21st century it offers the people of Europe the best answer to a particularly fast moving period of globalisation, which is full of challenges that can only be surmounted if we stand together.