Peace Isn’t Sexy

Robert Menasse is an advocate of united Europe and has shared his ideas on why Europe should have a joint economic roof with Book World visitors.

"Originally the idea that gave birth to united Europe was to create peace by getting everyone to co-operate and then, bit by bit, to develop a community that would aim for a common market, currency and administration," explained Robert Menasse. "I've heard from more people that peace isn't sexy. What a silly thing to say..." he said with a slight exaggeration. The truth is that the Second World War is still a relatively recent event - seventy years are a mere moment in the existence of mankind and if we are not careful we could see history repeat itself, which is something we also often hear. The point of the European community is precisely that it does not happen. We are not necessarily talking about a global military conflict - it could also be an event similar to what we experienced in August 1968. "Back then you were betrayed by the West-European countries. They had their peace but you received no help. This was a power struggle. But since the authoritarian systems we used to know have collapsed, no such thing should happen again." Nonetheless, many people only see crowds of migrants sweeping over Europe and global economic problems instead. "People often think that a national state will protect them from all of this. But that is a big mistake," Robert Menasse explained. "Do you really think that a national state will protect you? All the challenges we are facing, all the crises we are experiencing will not stop because of some border. Do you think that a financial crisis will stop at the Czech border? Or that global warming will pass you by if you lock yourselves in here? And what will you do about the internet, which is a multinational phenomenon - how will you regulate it?" These were the questions Robert Menasse asked his Czech audience to consider. "A small state, such as Austria or the Czech Republic, can never fight off the big challenges alone. Many people have doubts, they think that in the EU somebody else is making decisions on their behalf, but that's not true - you are a part of that decision making, you have your representatives there. I also heard opinions that Brussels is a threat to Czech identity but I can honestly tell you that I've never met a single person in Brussels or seen a single paragraph of the programme declarations that would state that the European Union wants to destroy the integrity of the nations. On the contrary - the European Union says that the diversity of cultures, identities and languages is Europe's wealth."

The issue of Brexit could hardly be avoided. "United Kingdom thought that by egoistically looking only after itself it would be better off. But instead they inflicted great damage on themselves and the fallout of this decision will soon become apparent," Robert Menasse concluded his debate with Book World visitors.