In my life I’ve seen Europe go through massive changes. I grew up seeing Europe being squeezed and divided between two super powers, experienced the wave of peaceful and at times not so peaceful protests, demanding freedom. People experienced the unification of a greater European Union with an expansion southwards and eastwards.
Changes that stirred and rippled throughout the Old Continent bringing new opportunities for both the good intentioned as well as the bad ones. After the two world wars, Europe, went from being shattered by terroristic attacks in the 70s and 80s to becaming a symbol of peace and prosperity during the 90s and the turn of the century. A continent that transformed itself; it changed from being the chess board for the super powers to becoming a reputable chess player itself.
It was down to the relentless work of visionaries that turned the post-war comatose Europe into a beacon of hope. However, the good willed always forget that there’s always a darker side.
During this same period a similar development occurred in the European underworld. Following the freedom obtained in the 90s, the former communist countries started experiencing a new criminal phenomenon; organised crime. Cross-border organised crime that was assisted in its growth by the political changes.
This led to radical changes within the European underworld, redirecting the mafia and other organisations to switch from violent crime towards a more business-like approach in their dealings.
Setting up legitimate businesses to hide the illegitimate income is a tried and tested approach. The political, social and technological developments during the 90s and early noughties – freedom of movement, more contact with foreigners, the development of the internet and the enlargement of the EU – provided a path towards unity, including for those armed with ill intentions.
We are experiencing what we worked hard to achieve. We wanted freedom; however we forgot that we have other obligations towards society. Unfortunately, politicians are no longer the leaders that had a mission to serve the people. Moreover, the country management approach is exposing politicians to entrepreneurs and investors much more than before.
Politicians and business people are one and the same. While a business person is selling a service or a product, politicians sell themselves. Sometimes they sell themselves to the extent that they sell their souls to gain power.
Once again Europe is at a crossroads. Various concerns among European citizens still remain unanswered by Brussels. However, these are being answered at a national level. The rise of the far-right across Europe is another threat to the freedoms we toiled so hard to obtain.
In recent years the far-right gained support in all European states, as witnessed in last week’s Italian election.
The common perception among the people across the continent is that corruption and tax evasion are on the rise while many blame migration for the growing social inequalities. All this has made the far-right more attractive. This is the very same formula that saw a certain Adolf Hitler rise to power.
Society is being squashed between far-right sentiments and the corrupt system devised by politician and big businesses. Both options go against the very foundations of the European Union. Civil society is being attacked on a daily basis. Lives are being shattered and people are being murdered for exposing this malaise. Isn’t it time to take action?