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Rome Reports

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What European values does Pope Francis say are needed to face the pandemic?

During the pandemic, the pope has asked Europe to face the crisis by re-energizing the dream of its founding fathers. Obviously this recommendation isn't limited to the past.

Today, we pray for Europe. May Europe have this unity, this fraternal unity that the founding fathers of the European Union dreamed of.

The pope refers to the European Project of Schumann, De Gasperi, Spaak and Adenauer, among others. It was a dream that sparked Europe's longest period of peace and prosperity.

After centuries of fighting over materials like coal and steel, France and Germany finally decided to share those resources. Their common interests thus became an incentive to replace conflict with collaboration.

Author, “Europe, a Leap into the Unknown”
“Before the birth of the EU, relations between countries were based on a balance of power. International bodies are indeed based on that balance of power. Nevertheless, right after a war, leaving winners and losers, they said, 'We're going to base this project on forgiveness. We're going to start from scratch. We're going to try to be friends, to voluntarily share our sovereignty.'”

Victoria Martín de la Torre wrote “Europe, a Leap into the Unknown.” It's a thrilling book written as a novel. It recounts how the European countries came to choose collaboration, making the European Union a community, not a multilateral body.

Author, “Europe, a Leap into the Unknown”
“They wanted to change people's attitudes. They wanted to achieve a peace based on mutual trust, friendship and a sense of forming part of the same community. Their idea was, 'We're creating a community with a destiny.'”

The pope's proposal to today's leaders is perhaps for them to focus their energy on finding points of collaboration for the common good.

Author, “Europe, a Leap into the Unknown”
“We have to solve problems together. It's not about negotiating, to see who can gain more. Instead, if we can manage to find a solution that serves the common good, which St. Thomas said, is more than the sum of its individual parts, then we can build a community.”

The European Union has given the Old World more than 50 years of prosperity, as well as legislation that puts intrinsic human dignity at the forefront.

Interestingly enough, two of the community's strongest proponents, Robert Schumann and Alcide De Gasperi are in the process of beatification.