When it comes to the European Union, many in Germany and around the 27-member club think first and foremost of mind-numbing bureaucracy in Brussels and the never-ending crisis facing the Continent's common currency. Citizens feel powerless, helpless and oftentimes ignored.
But soon it was evident that this was only empty rhetorics:
Gauck, though, quickly moved on from the laundry list of complaints that are often directed at Brussels and from the fears felt by those countries in crisis. In the rest of the speech, he delivered an eloquent and passionate defense of the European idea.
"We can travel from the Neman (River) to the Atlantic and from Finland to Sicily without at any point having to dig out a passport," he said. "We can use one and the same currency across much of Europe, and we buy Spanish shoes and Czech cars without paying extra customs charges…. In a very positive way, more Europe has become part of our everyday lives."
Of course it may be nice to travel without having to "dig out a passport", but I do not think that I am the only one who would be more than happy to show the document if the benefit would be to get rid of the EUSSR type Brussels bureacracy. And I would be even more happy to visit a currency exchange office - if that would mean a chance to get rid of the never ending crisis machine called the euro!
One would think that people like Gauck, and Angela Merkel, who come from the former East Germany, should understand what a huge undemocratic bureaucracy means. However, for some strange reason they seem to be blinded by empty rhetorics about a "common European identity", which has never existed, and will never exist.