Turn of the times
Anyone who thought that war spurred by power-hungry maniacs were a thing of the past, has been proven sadly mistaken these past few weeks. The Russian ruler and the kleptocrats surrounding him are still trapped in a cold-war mindset. Those who are currently suffering are first and foremost the people of Ukraine, who were no longer prepared to accept leadership by the grace of their overpowering neighbors. With their homes and country being tirelessly bombed, many of them are robbed of their livelyhoods and unfortunatily also their life. However, the Russian people are suffering too, and it will only get worse under the continued rule of the Russian kleptocracy in the coming months. But who knows: perhaps the Russian people will somehow manage to free themselves?
The deciding questions we must ask ourselves here in the West is: Are we prepared to endure the consequences of the sanctions that are put in place to end this war, if necessary over a long period of time? Oil and gas prices are going through the roof. The longer this war lasts, the more we will feel it in our wallets. The challenges facing energy-intensive industries such as the bricks and tile industry will thus become even greater than they already are.
“The politics of European union is really a question of war and peace in the 21st century.”
(Helmut Kohl, German Chancellor 1982-1998, on 2 February 1996 in Leuven, Belgium).
In my opinion we should be ready to bear these consequences and do everything to end this nightmare as soon as possible. For this war shows one thing very clearly: the ideas of the European union movement after the Second World War live on, even if recently it seems to be dwindling. Peace and freedom, democracy and the rule of law, peaceful trade and change, tolerance and respect for those who are different, peaceful reconciliation of interests - these ideas are more attractive than ever! Their realisation has brought us peace, freedom and prosperity in large parts of Europe lasting more than 70 years. It is up to us now to make these ideas a reality throughout Europe.
Editor-in-Chief ZI Brick and Tile Industry International