By Bev Haigh-Jones

Molly Scott Cato on the Future of Europe

We are all shaken to the core, I’m sure, by the events that have recently been taking place in Ukraine and personally, I have never felt a greater need to be a part of Europe.

The European Movement have put out various statements relating to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and they are looking at any ways that they can assist. The statement above by Molly Scott Cato is just one of several hoping to highlight, yet again, the folly of Brexit and the subsequent isolation of the UK from our European neighbours.

In an attempt to increase awareness of opinions, not just in the UK but across Europe, a series of webinars for members under the banner of, “What Putin’s invasion of Ukraine means for Europe” are being produced. The first took place on 3 March and was hosted by Clare Moody, a former MEP. The guest speakers, all knowledgeable people, were Sophie Katsarava – Georgia’s Ambassador to UK, Reinhard Butikofer – a German MEP – and Kees Klompenhouwer – Dutch diplomat and former Ambassador to Georgia.

This was a really interesting and enlightening session where it was possible not just to listen to their thoughts, but also to ask questions. Some of the more notable comments are shown below.

Sophie Katsarava:

“The consolidation of Europe is not just important, it’s essential.”

“It’s a wake-up call and now is the time to embrace the countries who share fundamental values and show the support to counter existing and potential threats and risks that might emerge in the future“.

Reinhard Butikofer:

“In this hour of need and in this hour of danger Europe pulls together and shows a great deal of solidarity with Ukraine and… begins understanding that this is not just about somebody else’s security but our own too”

“This is an historical point and the end of an era. Russian aggression is far-reaching, undermining the principles of the EU and NATO.”

Kees Klompenhouwer:

“We need to be together more than ever. No more ‘Global Britain’! The UK and France need to step forward. We need to get the message across: ‘We are stronger together’.”

“Disinformation is powerful. The UK experienced that with Brexit. I give my congratulations to The Guardian as the only reliable source of truthful information.”

As already mentioned, the European Movement are planning more of these events and they are well worth the time, but you do need to be an EM member. If you are not already a member, joining is very simple and the monthly cost is very low. They are also currently looking at possible reduced membership costs for students, or those on low incomes etc. If you wish to consider joining, this is the link.

In addition to the webinars, EM are currently working on new campaigns for 2022 and many of the regional groups already carry out local stalls, or events, as Cornwall for Europe (CfE) did with the Ukraine vigil recently. As an affiliated group, CfE have control over their own schedule of actions, but where these coincide with the policies and aims of the European Movement, there can be support available in the form of literature, banners, etc.

One of the events being considered at present is March for Rejoin, due to take place in London during May. Originally EM were planning to support this in some way, as was Cornwall for Europe, although now that the date has had to change, we are currently awaiting finalised details before deciding exactly what form this might take. Once again, we would reiterate that it is the belief of Cornwall for Europe that the way forward requires the strength of significant numbers. The way to a united Europe and possible rejoin will only be made possible by enough people coming together as one, behind a common cause. Having fragmented campaigns weakens, rather than strengthens the effort. As all three of the speakers above have said, in one way or another, “we are stronger together”, and this applies to campaigners for rejoin as much as it does for countries of Europe. We need to work together for our goals and we believe that the European Movement is the best umbrella organisation to achieve that coordination.

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