Camp set by migrants at the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni, on March 10, 2016. Sakis Mitrolidis/AFP/Getty Images
By ADRIAN TAHOURDIN
Cradle of the Enlightenment. Birthplace of many wonderful writers and composers, and home to some of the finest works of art and architecture. But Europe has also been the site of innumerable religious and civil conflicts. And, of course, in the past century the continent experienced two catastrophic wars and one of the greatest crimes in history. What is now the European Union was founded in the 1950s partly in an attempt to ensure that hostilities wouldn’t break out on the continent again. It wasn’t able to prevent the non-EU member Yugoslavia from erupting into civil war in 1992–5, and the country’s consequent break-up into six sovereign states. But France and Germany have been locked together in a permanent loving embrace. Meanwhile, the eastern half of the continent effectively disappeared behind the Iron Curtain before re-emerging in the late 1980s and early 90s. Then came the euro, and the expansion of the Union, to its current membership of twenty-eight countries (minus that serial non-joiner right in the middle, Switzerland), with several more waiting to join: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and – more problematically – Turkey.