The Marshall Plan has been mentioned for many years, long before the Corona crisis, and has a particular connotation, something like "we have a problem and with this approach we solve everything." Even at national or regional level, this brand has been used to have an impact, often only in the media.
But if we return to the history books, we can clarify the mechanism of that time. The Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was an American initiative adopted in 1948 to provide external aid to Western Europe. The United States has transferred more than $ 12 billion (the equivalent of more than $ 128 billion in 2020) in economic recovery programs to Western European economies after the end of World War II.
I don't want to be negative, but we are certainly not in the political and economic situation of 70 plus years ago, so there is no question of having foreign financial aid, be it American or third parties. The whole story of the Marshall Plan must evolve into something realistic, in the direction of a rather European Phoenix. The European Union is the "permanent teenager" in which we must believe as we care for our children. We cannot leave it to chance, especially now that nationalist projects are gaining momentum in every corner of Europe.
The solution of a strong EU cannot come only from the European institutions or the political class. An inclusive approach is needed, in which European society really is involved in the project. The media is an obvious partner, not only in terms of the channel of communication with citizens, but also in terms of establishing the societal pulse. As the project of the internal market or that of the common European currency had as partner the business sector, it is necessary that the project of ″Real Europe″ empowers the media in structuring and facilitating the discussion.
Between Press Day and Europe Day, on the background of an identity crisis for the European Union, to think broadly is what we want. If we succeed in building a better, more normal Europe together, a common functional project, we will indirectly solve the great problem of the federal structure - the communication of the European project with its own citizens. Now is the perfect time to write the history of the European Union with its citizens!
Dan LUCA is VP Strategic Innovations of the EURACTIV group. He is lecturer at universities in Brussels and Bucharest; and the author of the book “Mapping the Influencers in EU Policies”.