Europe and social democracy


Sir, – A new study has revealed that two-thirds of American millennials could not identify what Auschwitz is. The study found that knowledge of the Holocaust is rapidly fading among US adults, especially those aged 18 to 34. Some 22 per cent of millennials said they had not heard of the Holocaust or were not sure whether they had heard of it.

We should never forget where we’ve come from and, while the EU is far from perfect, things are immeasurably better on our Continent than they were a hundred or 70 years ago. Simmering nationalism was one of the causes of the first World War.

Once again, there are worrying signs of burgeoning nationalism, authoritarianism and xenophobia on our Continent. There is a sense of disenfranchisement. Solidarity has sometimes been shown to be a myth. Perhaps understandably, people have looked elsewhere and have rushed into the arms of demagogues peddling lies. This is dangerous territory.

The EU institutions and European politicians need to vigorously defend what was so hard won by our ancestors: liberal democracy, the rule of law, judicial independence, fundamental rights, independent media and a healthy civil society. Social democracy is not fashionable these days, but it has a role to play. It just needs to be reinvented. We also need to educate our young people about what happened on our Continent and the underlying causes of the barbarity that they were so fortunate to miss by only a matter of decades. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.