We speak of external threats like globalization and others like asylum seekers as threats challenging this great Post-World War 2 experiment called the European Project. While the achievements of the European Union are formidable taking into account that we’re not going after each other’s throats after 1945, there is one threat that is the greatest of them all and one we should pay more attention to – nationalism and xenophobia.
Xenophobia is expensive business for a society. Socially excluding people and creating discord don’t create jobs and economic wellbeing but cost the taxpayer an arm and leg.
Ruffle your nationalistic feathers with generous doses of bravado and you’ll end up like the United Kingdom today: A country that will see its political and economic clout diminished in the European Union thanks to Brexit.
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The fact that the ugly face of xenophobia has raised its head in the United Kingdom after Thursday reveals that while we have done a lot build a Single Market we have failed in challenging social ills like nationalism, prejudice and bigotry.
With or without the United Kingdom, the European Union must do better to challenge social ills that exclude others and relegate people to second- and third-class members of society.
Because such toxic forces will not only lead us towards the tragic path of former wars and rivalries but leave our European Project and us in tatters.