Talking about the future is hard.
I don’t know what the world is going to look like in the year 2050, but I do have a bit of a vision for what I would like to see happen in Europe at that time.
Now, so much has happened on this continent over the past few centuries. There have been immense achievements – breakthroughs for humanity, really – and I am not just talking about the legacy following the Second World War. It’s really amazing walking through the capitals of Europe and viewing beautiful works of architecture and art and sculptures.
But, more often than not, I like to remind myself that a lot of the source of that wealth and that influence comes from a perhaps not happy legacy.
Now, I know that it’s a sensitive topic to talk about, but I hope that, in 2050, Europe will have a much more meaningful and impactful public memory of the legacy of imperialism and colonialism. So much of what is enjoyed in Europe today comes from the sweat and blood of exploited peoples from Africa and Asia and the Americas.
Now, this is not something that is really easy to discuss in black and white terms, I know, but I also know that public memory and public consciousness of the past informs present policy and future outlook much more deeply than perhaps what we can appreciate in our day-to-day life. And I hope that, in the year 2050, Europe will be a space where the past is spoken about and acknowledged much more openly – with due sensitivity of course given to all the circumstances. But that kind of more comprehensive appreciation I hope will help create a more inclusive and welcoming Europe.