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The year is fast approaching its end, the fourth Advent is just around the corner and I'm taking this as an opportunity for the seventh time to write a Christmas letter to you.
The far-reaching and certainly serious decisions made by the member states of the European Union these days are among the highlights of a very turbulent year. Dictators are gone and new ones are at the door. Man-made climate change is increasingly showing its horror sides and not every technological advance seems manageable. The internationally linked banks need further state aid, which most states can no longer handle on their own with their previous debt policies. The economies of all countries are suffering as a result and, as a result, the weaker in all societies are also suffering more and more. In addition, nationalism and even worse things seem to be becoming acceptable again in our country.
All in all, there is certainly no end to the year that can give you great joy and inner peace. Nevertheless, I continue to hold fast to our common goal, the European idea of a peaceful world - a world that is democratic, federal and built for the benefit of all people.
As we are becoming more and more aware of, this world and our new Europe will not exist for nothing. An “Island of the Blissful”, even if it is only limited to a rump of Europe, cannot and will not exist!
The challenges of our time are too great to be able to master them alone. We are happily united, whether we like it or not - and so is the UK.
In addition, we must once again acknowledge that the supposedly stronger support the weaker - fraternity, solidarity and charity are values that do not only apply to those of equal strength. It is well known that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. And if you think you can simply cut off the weakest link, you will quickly find yourself in a vicious circle.
But even those who are supposedly weaker must do their part to make it a great success. No welfare state and social Europe must not be a one-way street! We must get the weaker links "fit for life"; and the later we start, the more painful it will be for everyone involved.