Learning to disagree well on Europe

Reimagining Europe

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby

Around 1981 I was travelling down to Nigeria with colleagues from the oil company I worked for. It was a French company and I lived in Paris.

My colleagues were all French. One of them was far, far senior to me, the head of the shipping department, and as we travelled, we chatted.

There was a crisis in what was then called the European Community, with, I think, Mrs Thatcher strongly asserting the UK’s position. He turned to me and said “you British just don’t get it. Europe is about peace, not money.”

He went on to say how three generations of his family had lost people in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and in the two world wars, always fighting the Germans. He himself had been in the Resistance during World War II. I listened with interest…

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