Please let me begin with some personal remarks regarding the upcoming election in Europe.
In 1988 when I came to Germany from Sweden, it was normal to go through customs and passport controls at the border between Denmark and Germany, as well as when arriving from Sweden with the ferry in Travemünde and Kiel. The wall between East and West Germany still existed even though I had the privilege to be on site in Berlin when it fell.
Since 1958, no passport controls have existed within the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway thanks to the Nordic Passport Union. My personal dream of a Baltic Sea Region and a Europe with no boundaries finally became reality on 26th March 1995. The Schengen Agreement came into effect and created a common European economic area and living space, from the north in my birth-country Sweden down to the south of Spain.
In view of increasing nationalist tendencies in many EU Member States the stability of this unprecedented peace alliance is being put to the test.
At EHRENBERG SØRENSEN we live and experience Europe on a daily basis. The Baltic Sea Region is our home and from here we travel to our customers across the continent. Therefore, the current development worries me deeply. Instead of growing together, fences are being built again. Denmark is building a so-called “wild hog fence” at the border between Jutland and Schleswig-Holstein. The reason is of course not to contain the disease, but is mere symbolic politics, as the main carrier of the African swine fever virus – from which Denmark allegedly wants to protect itself – is the human being.
I do understand that we have to increase the border control on the borders between the EU and other countries outside of the Schengen Region due to obvious reasons. But shall we fence ourselves in again and go back to the Europe that we had 30 years ago?
However, there is also reason for hope. In the generally skeptical Germany, about 57 % of interviewees made the case for cementing the ties within Europe. Almost 80 % of Germans deplore Great Britain’s leave of the European Union.
Yes, the European Union with both parliamentary bases in Strasbourg and Brussels, the administrative machinery and all other institutions does cost a lot of money. In my opinion it is well invested money, as any cent invested in Europe is far better than war. Neither my generation nor the generation of my children has ever experienced war in the EU. To ensure that it stays that way, it is always worth the while to fight for a free and peaceful Europe without fences. Going backwards into the future will not work.
Convince family, friends and acquaintances to make use of their constitutional democratic fundamental rights of free elections in May – for peace and freedom in Europe! Many people in the world envy us for this right.
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Warm greetings to you all.