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What are we talking about when we talk about populism?

Populism is on everyone's lips. For better or for worse. Some people hate them. Others, although they don't like the term, applaud its pretensions. Populism has several components. In these lines I only reflect on the opposition of populisms to what they call elites, who would only seek their own profit, in front of the people, good by nature, subjugated by them.

    The elections for the renewal of the European Parliament next May will mark the Union's path in depth. The citizens of Europe who are called upon to vote are at a crossroads, which may lead to the relaunch of the project of political unification or to its sinking, which is likely to be definitive. That is why it is not enough to acknowledge the mistakes of the recent past, due to the lack of solidarity between the Member States, the excessive confidence placed in the instruments of economic, monetary and financial unification alone, and the blatant short-sightedness of the ruling classes.

This 2019 will be the year of Europe. The spring elections will inevitably mark either the relaunch of the European political project or its sinking, probably definitive.

The mistakes of the past are there for all to see and the consequences are being paid for dearly. These errors are linked to a lack of solidarity between the Member States of the Union and a lack of foresight on the part of the ruling classes, the result of the will to collect, from time to time, an immediate electoral gain, to be spent at national level only. The humiliations reserved for the peoples, the Greek people among others, show how history has taught little or nothing: the lesson of the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, born under the ashes of frustration and humiliation, seems to have been in vain.

 The responsibility of Christians.

That Europe is seriously in crisis is an obvious fact. The crisis is particularly worrying because it is part of a global framework of strong tensions that threaten peace. Today it is urgent for Christians to reflect on the words of Pope Francis: "Good politics is at the service of peace", and it is only so if it is lived as "service to the human community".

Peace must, therefore, commit us as Christians, and this becomes all the more true that it appears evident that this action of fraternity cannot simply be delegated at the moment when the political practices take an orientation contrary to human rights, justice, social solidarity. Today it is necessary to reflect and to support a good culture that opposes the prevalence of the principles of individual and national selfishness. We have a duty to react to these practices.

1989 was a success because of the civic movements in Central Europe. These actors who are the real heroes of the change. Which lessons?

1  Don’t accept to be unified from above, which means accept the differenciation due to the cultures. Don’t destroy the piano of Chopin.

2 In his article “Living in truth”, Vaclav Havel tells us that in the communist time, when there was no confidence in the politic system, it was necessary to invest in the civil society, to have an “antipolitics” movement in the civil society, able to give a moral impulse. Not to criticize the global system but ask oneself, which moral values to introduce in the system.

 

The times of great changes require wider perspectives, accordingly throughout Europe visions of the past, present and the future have been questioned by different bodies and institutions. Among them also Pax Romana, precisely the Siiaec (The International Secretariat of the Catholic Engineers, Agronomists and Industrialists) and the KIK, (Club of Catholic Intelligentsia) - the organizers of the International meeting in Warsaw (April 2018). Intellectuals from several European countries presented their views on various contemporary challenges. The issue of European identity and its connection with the future of our continent seems to have raised most interesting discussions and fruitful confrontations.

Auschwitz is a name that from A to Z contains the alphabet of horror: right in the heart of Europe, it has become the place of the annihilation of the "different", to be identified not only with Jews but also with dissidents, opponents, the disabled, the mentally ill, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Roma, the Sinti, the Slavs. Today, 74 years after the liberation of that concentration camp, we are celebrating the 19th Day of the Memory of the Holocaust (the "catastrophe", in Hebrew) established by law 211 of 20 July 2000.

     The next general elections of the European Parliament will assume a crucial historical value for Europe. The actual political framework inside and outside the European Union strongly challenges the European institutions and their role as well as the very idea of Europe as a political community which is able to rule a continent according to common values and to reach common goals. The crisis of the traditional political parties in all the European countries, the rising of a new fascination for national identity and national sovereignty, they are the major features of a larger crisis of the political roots of Europe, including the concept of democracy.