Future generations will continue to build a united Europe, with its strength lying in the diversity of its cultures and historic backgrounds. What we are concerned with at present are the foundations on which the European house is built, which are beginning to show cracks. If this house is to regain its stability, we must cease to see unity and diversity as mutually exclusive opposites.
Europe needs both: On the one side more unity in the form of harmonised tax systems, a more cooperative energy policy, joint infrastructure projects and the overcoming of language barriers within the single market. On the other side, we need to preserve the diversity of regional differences and competences.
Now, more than ever, tolerance is required as well as the willingness to surrender sovereignty where necessary. What we can achieve together is much more than the sum of all parts. Yet politicians will only be able to gain public acceptance for the European idea if nobody risks sacrificing their national identity.
It is up to Europe to overcome the shadows of the euro crisis and, over time, take a position on the world stage that matches its potential. Europe will find its future when it has found itself.