A key ingredient of European integration is solidarity: this is the glue that keeps the community together and strong, and enables it to find common responses to challenges as they emerge. The history of European integration is often portrayed as the history of crises: the integration develops as Europe seeks to respond to the challenges it faces. A decade ago it was the financial and economic crises that caused alarm and hit the world and within it Europe hard. It has been proven time and again that to overcome crises faster and effectively, common approaches and solutions must prevail over national ones. Today, yet again, European solidarity is put to the test, probably one of the biggest ones since the inception of the EU: in the form of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis demands common action, courage and strong political leadership in the interest of all.
Clearly, solidarity does not end at EU's borders. The current pandemic and many of the challenges the world faces today and will face in the years ahead are global in character; and thus require common, global responses. COVID-19 has put national health systems under enormous pressure and the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic will be massive and long-lasting. The recently launched "Team Europe" initiative has been born out of the imperative to practise solidarity with our partners world-wide in support of their national efforts. We can only beat the virus if we do it together. And no doubt, we will win this fight.
Every crisis comes with an opportunity too: an opportunity to move beyond merely national reflexes, seek common solutions and thus provide greater security and better service to our citizens, and build enhanced resilience so that next time we are better prepared when the blow comes.
Because of COVID-19, this year's celebration is different from what we planned for. We all need to follow precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus – as a consequence, we keep our celebration virtual this year.
A Happy Europe Day to all!