Technology has once again brought people closer together. It is certainly no accident that this technology has developed only recently. The population of Europe has grown, presenting Europe with entirely new problems in agriculture, the economy, finance, and the military. And the continents, too, have grown closer as a result of new technology. Europeans are more and more realizing that our differences are only family squabbles when measured against the vast problems that the continents must solve.
I am convinced that, just as we look back with some amusement on the narrow-minded conflicts between German provinces in the 1840’s and 1850’s, our posterity in fifty years will look back with similar amusement on what is going on today in Europe. They will see the “dramatic battles between nations” of small European states as family squabbles. I am convinced that in fifty years we will no longer think in terms of nations, but of continents, and that entirely different, and perhaps much larger, problems will concern Europe.
Do not think that, as we bring about a certain order in Europe, we do it to harm individual nations. The freedom of individual countries must be brought in harmony with the conditions of the present and with simple questions of practicality. Just as a member of a family does not have the right to disturb everyone else’s peace, an individual nation does not have the right to resist the larger order.
We have never intended to promote this ordering or reordering process by force. Although we are Germans, we do not wish to injure the economic, cultural or social characteristics of the Bavarians or Saxons. It is no more in our interest to injure those, say, of the Czech people. However, the two peoples must understand each other. We must be either friends or enemies. As I believe you know well from history, the Germans can be terrible enemies, or good friends. We can extend our hand to a friend and work with him. We can also destroy an enemy.
However, you've almost certainly guessed it was a speech delivered by a Nazi leader to the representatives of a subjugated nation. It was Joseph Goebbels who delivered the speech. He gave it on 11 September 1940 to Czechoslovak artists and journalists visiting Berlin.
Now think about the present day speeches delivered by the EU leaders on various occasions. How many times have we heard something similar? The rhetoric has remained virtually identical; the only significant difference is the apparent lack of threats. The threats are still there, albeit less bluntly articulated: “either you will participate in the mainstream of the European integration or not.” That's the modern, soft, well-mannered way of saying “we must be either friends or enemies.”
In case of doubts, they say it more explicitly: “either you'll comply or we'll cut your subsidies.” That's the modern way of conquest – to send subsidies. It costs less than the military, and, unlike the armed annexation of a territory, has a good publicity. The target countries also rarely complain. Usually, they demand more subsidies.
The subjugation of the member states to the central power – this time it's Brussels rather than Berlin – still remains the principle of the European integration.