The response to terrorism must be further integration - Sandro Gozi

Italian state secretary for European Affairs Sandro Gozi says that the only way to fight the reign of fear being strengthened by Islamist terrorism is to encourage more integration

Italian state secretary for European Affairs Sandro Gozi has said that the response to Islamist terrorism and to the division being widened by populist movements throughout the EU, should be encouraging integration.

“Brexit ought to be the opportunity to speed up the process of integration for countries willing to adopt and adhere to the European values,” he said, discussing the future of the union.

Speaking about his book, ‘The Erasmus Generation in Power,” Gozi said that Europe has become synonymous with freedom and living without borders, and that this freedom should be safeguarded by current generations.

“Europe is about reconciliation,” he said, stressing that the movement had seen its origins on the steps of Auschwitz; a place that continues to symbolize division and cruelty in the continent’s collective history.

He added that the future of the union should look at a transnational referenda in terms of issues that affect all member states, to reflect the desires and needs of the bloc and to strengthen the union.

“The EU should also look at ways to make real information available to all its citizens to overcome the sensationalist claims made by populist groups,” he said, making reference to the way voters in the UK had been “fed lies” about savings to be diverted to the National Health Service in the absence of the country’s contributions to the union.

Gozi added that the Erasmus programme has existed for around 30 years and it continues to be one of the easiest facilitators of movement for students among the 28 member states.

“We have to work very hard to keep this freedom, and we cannot take it for granted,” Gozi said, referring to the threat of Islamist terrorism, and the need to work together to overcome these challenges.

He said that the idea of “being ourselves”, and believing in our fundamental values, and achieving mutual trust will be essential to overcoming the “Europe of fear.”

“The engine of fear is the key method used by populist ideologies and groups,” he said, stressing that this further fuelled fears of what is considered different. He went on to explain that this also went on to extend to the same society, with young people being pitted against older generations.

“These are all the methods that give a false idea that we can achieve safety by going back to national policies,” he added.

Gozi also went on to stress that new policies of inclusion and for further opportunities ought to be propagated and encouraged to make sure that the Union becomes a symbol of opportunity for younger generations.