‘In every member state, there are people who believe their country can survive alone in the globalised world. It is more than an illusion – it is a lie.’
The Belgian equated Euroscepticism with fear, which eventually leads to war – echoing former French president Francois Mitterrand’s famous phrase that ‘nationalism is war’.
‘The biggest enemy of Europe today is fear,’ he said. ‘Fear leads to egoism, egoism leads to nationalism, and nationalism leads to war.
‘Today’s nationalism is often not a positive feeling of pride in one’s own identity, but a negative feeling of apprehension of the others.’
In a strong defence of the euro, he said the recession would have been far worse if France still had its franc and Germany still had its mark.
Again employing the imagery of war, he said: ‘Just imagine the big recession of 2008/09 with the old currencies. It would have resulted in currency turmoil and the end of the single market. A currency war always ends in protectionism.’
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