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Take Brexit as an example. The notion of moral purpose has, if anything, been noticeable by its absence. A non-issue to bankers and those hoping to make a quick buck off Friday's result, but to those with an understanding of the ideals that gave birth to the European project, it was a source of deep disappointment. A "sad failing on the part of the 'in' campaign" was how Mr Ben Ryan put it, in a commentary published in January by The Guardian and bearing the headline "The 'in' campaign fixates on business - what about Europe's moral purpose?"
Mr Ryan, author of the report - A Soul For The Union - for the religion and society think-tank Theos, recalled that "at the beginning there was a moral mission at the heart of Europe - a desire to seek peace, and the successful reconciliation of France and Germany (after WWII)", as well as a desire to improve work conditions and the lives of citizens through the building of a welfare state and protection of workers' rights.
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