Trust, solidarity, unity, and cooperation are some of the basic principles upon which the European Union, and indeed every family, is founded. When those principles are shaken, the entire construct is imperiled.

If one leaves aside Eastern European countries, which for historical reasons were not part of the great project of European unification from the start, the first group to openly and systematically challenge the spirit of Europe was the Italian nationalists.

They were preceded by the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks government. However, it took just 17 hours in July, 2015, for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to do an about-face, annulling the negative result of the referendum on the bailout programme that he had fervently supported and accepting all that was dictated to him.

Matteo Salvini is more stubborn, and of course his country is in a different class in terms of size. Yet, no one expected that Spain’s socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, whose governance has been viewed positively until now, would join the club of those disputing European unification.

Sanchez is threatening to veto the EU-UK Brexit deal if he is not offered guarantees that the negotiations regarding Gibraltar will continue on a bilateral level, between Madrid and London.

To justify his stance, he invoked the “essence” of his country. If national sensitivities are in principle to be respected, their invocation in order to cancel collective decisions that have been taken is exceptionally dangerous.

As is well known, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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