“The European Union is much more than a treaty,” Prime Minister Charles Michel explained on Thursday in response to views on Europe expressed by New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) president Bart De Wever, in “Tijd” newspaper. “The European Union is barely a treaty,” De Wever had written on Wednesday in a letter to the editor in which he praised Edmund Burke, the Irish philosopher considered the father of political conservatism. “Europe was not invented after World War II. It has a long, rich history,” he added.
According to the Flemish nationalist, the EU will never become a “European nation” because “it is a combination of many different nations whose cultures and political traditions are different. More Europe is not a panacea; a one-size-fits-all policy will not suit its many peoples.”
Speaking on the sidelines of a European summit in Sofia, Bulgaria, Prime Minister Michel said he disagreed with this analysis. “The fight against terrorism, the safety of our borders – I do not see what we would do without the European Union,” he said. “It’s much more than a treaty. It’s about our basic values and it’s part of our identity. The neutrality of the State, respect for men and women … are just a few examples showing that the European Union represents our basic values.”
“The European Union is a shared history but also a shared future,” he added. “In my view, it’s much more than paper or a treaty. For Belgium’s security, our socio-economic development, the security of European borders, we need an effective European Union.”