In a world famous statement on 9th may 1950, Robert Schuman, one of the fathers of Europe, envisaged an economically and - in prospect - politically united continent to overcome the heavy legacy of war and as the starting point for an ambitious process of integration between countries.
The European union has gone through alternating phases of trust and difficulties, while nevertheless never failing in its fundamental promise of peace, stability and prosperity for the peoples of Europe.
The vision of a generation of intellectuals and politicians, who were able to overcome ancient divisions for the common good of the European family, must lead us even during these hard times.
We are facing a challenge of unprecedented breadth and depth, and our responses must live up to the foresight that, even today, is the most precious legacy that the founding fathers bequeathed us.
Not only is the response to the epidemic at stake, this crisis is also a fundamental test for the future of our peoples and for the stability of the continent itself.
The European project has demonstrated the flexibility and resilience needed to favor fundamental and positive changes. Now is the compelling time to strengthen the political solidarity of the union.
Only by achieving more Europe it will be possible to tackle the pandemic - a truly global challenge - more effectively in terms of research and health protection measures and in terms of an economic and social recovery. We would all be in greater trouble if we did not have at our disposal that necessary network of sharing that binds our peoples through common institutions.
We all feel a responsibility to come together in supporting the vigorous crisis response measures and its consequences. These include measures already adopted and those still to be implemented.
The European path has made enormous progress over the last seventy years towards that “fusion of interest which is indispensable to the establishment of a common economic system” envisioned by Schuman.
Now, the current emergency only confirms the urgent need to respond to the calls for change expressed by European citizens, to develop the “ferment of a deeper community” even more.
To join the ranks of our common destiny is a duty we cannot shirk.