Until now, we have been spared a major attack on Belgian soil. Sadly, the sickening events of 22 March abruptly changed that. Brussels now joins the growing list of European cities that have been targeted for mass casualty attacks: Madrid, London and Paris. But this week's slaughter wasn't just an attack on Belgium. Maalbeek metro station, where so many innocent men, women and children died, is a key transit hub for the European district. We now know at least 40 different nationalities were caught up in the attacks. This was a strike at the heart of Europe. More than ever, it's clear we are facing a European challenge.
It's not surprising that the scientific and technological community is overwhelmingly positive on this issue. Some of Europe's greatest technical successes - in particle physics and in aerospace, for instance - have required multinational collaboration. Such achievements show that Europe can fully match the US if its expertise is coordinated optimally. Bodies like CERN and the European Space Agency, for instance, are underpinned by international treaties: they aren't directly linked to the EU. However the EU has been an important 'facilitator' of collaboration across the whole range of 'wissenschaft'.
Whether we're in politics, diplomacy or business, we all know that risk and opportunity are two sides of the same coin. Some commentators are sounding the alarm about the Chinese economic slowdown, and the impact this might have on other economies in the region and further afield. This does not change the fundamental fact that Asia is now - and will remain - a major engine for global growth, and one with which we must continue to engage.
Winston Churchill, who let's remember was one of the first to have a vision of a united Europe, once reputedly said "if Britain should have to choose between Europe and the open sea, she should always choose the open sea". I get it. But we don't have to choose. Thanks to David Cameron we can stay in a reformed EU that works for us and help shape the future of our continent for the benefit of generations to come.
We in Scotland know too well what it is like to be patronised, and told the sky will fall in if we make the wrong choice. I should probably say now too, that I don't think the UK would turn into a basket case if it left: I just think it would be a much lesser place without the opportunities for cooperation and mutual prosperity that the EU offers.